Epsom and St Helier University hospitals have launched a Christmas appeal to bring a little joy to young patients with cancer, medical conditions and other illnesses or injuries.

In 2021, some 57 youngsters spent Christmas week on the children’s ward at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Carshalton, and more also stayed at Epsom Hospital.

This year will be no different, with many young patients spending days or weeks at a time on one of the wards.

Toy donations can be made at both hospitals and must be suitable for children and teenagers aged 0-18 years.

They need to be brand new and left unwrapped, so staff know what gift they are giving to the children.

The teams are grateful for any donations but are particularly short on baby gifts and teenage gifts.

The full list of suitable Christmas presents is as follows

• Play dough sets

• Kinetic sand

• Lego sets

• Fidget toys (such as stress balls and fidget cubes)

• Slime/slime-making kits

• Arts and crafts/painting stuff

• Colouring books

• Sticker books

• Puzzles (for all different ages)

• Bracelet making

• Journals/ notebooks

• Busy books

• Noisy books

• Rattles

• Shape sorters

• Sensory toys

• Light-up noisy baby toys

• Fluffy socks (teens) and stocking

• Orbees

For Epsom, gifts can be dropped off at the Casey Ward - visitors can find the ward by the main entrance and following the signs to ‘Headley Wing’, towards X-Ray, then turning left where there are some stairs with a painted wall of mermaids and fish.

If you head up the stairs, Casey Ward will be straight ahead.

At Queen Mary’s the children’s ward is on the second floor of the hospital, which sits behind the main St Helier Hospital - donations can be dropped off between 7.30am and 3.30pm.

Abby May, health play specialist apprentice at Epsom Hospital, said: “Despite the efforts of our staff, many children find being in hospital an unsettling and traumatic experience.

“Christmas can be particularly hard, and we will be doing all we can to make it just a little bit easier for them and their families.”

Emily King, health play specialist at the Queen Mary’s Hospital’s children’s ward, added: “We know it’s an expensive time of year for people and understand many may be feeling the squeeze financially.

“But if you do have a bit of money to spare, we’d be so grateful for a donation to put a smile on a child’s face this Christmas.”

Betty Njuguna, chief nurse at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Our exceptional staff will do their very best to make Christmas as normal as possible for the brave children on our wards, but they need your help.

“Please consider making a donation if you are able to and make one child’s day just a little bit better.”

You can also purchase gifts from dedicated Amazon wish lists, which can be found here.