Patients at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital got a special festive surprise courtesy of the local fire service yesterday afternoon, as Santa appeared at their window on a high-rise lift.
The unusual event was organised after it became clear firefighters would not be able to carry out their usual Christmas visit to the hospital.
Restrictions brought in to prevent the spread of Covid have meant only one person is allowed at a patient’s bedside at a time.
But the fire service decided not to call off their visit altogether, instead using their equipment to make sure the kids at the hospital get the treat they deserve after a difficult year.
At 2pm yesterday, Santa Claus himself made an appearance outside the building, before getting into a tinsel-decorated high-rise lift attached to a fire engine and taking a trip up to the children’s ward windows.
Excited patients, families and staff could be seen giving him a wave through the glass.
The trip was organised with local children’s charity the Archie Foundation, which has been working hard to ensure patients at the hospital can still enjoy themselves in a year that has brought many challenges.
They have made much larger quantities of toys and craft material available to the kids, and fun sessions such as music therapy and Critter Keeper have been taken online.
With help from the Christmas Decorators, the charity also installed two 16ft Christmas trees in the reception area.
Matthew Cowe, a watch commander at Central community fire station, said: “The children and their families are delighted to see firefighters.
“For me, you look at the firefighters’ faces before, during and after the visit to the hospital and it’s a mixture of emotions.
“To partner up with the Archie Foundation in the lead up to the event opens new branches of trust and partnerships, all looking to achieve that goal – to see the children smile for a moment and enjoy the occasion.”
Lynne Brooks, gifts and donations officer for Archie, said: “Huge thanks to Scottish Fire & Rescue for the visit yesterday.
“It was an amazing experience for all involved, to see the smiles on patients’ faces was heartwarming in a year which has been so difficult for many and provided so many challenges.
“It was testament to the creativity and flexibility of all involved that nothing stops Santa!”