Local ice hockey team Solway Sharks has donated over 200 soft toys to DGRI’s children’s ward following a huge collection in the second year of their ‘Hurl a Hug’ initiative.
This week four of the team’s players paid a Christmas visit to hand over a bounty of soft toys and spent time on the ward with children and their families. The first visit of its kind to the ward in over two years brought smiles all round.
The Solway Sharks began ‘Hurl a Hug’ in 2021 when they asked spectators to throw a soft toy onto the ice rink after a match to donate for children in hospital during Christmas time. The number of soft toys donated was 60 and went to the children’s ward.
This year’s huge number of toys has meant the donation will be shared across services for children and babies in hospital and out with to the community. Staff from Women and Children’s services have arranged for many of the soft toys to be delivered to The Willows and Oak Tree Family Centre during Christmas time.
Martin Grubb, Head Coach Solway Sharks, said:
“As a club supporting health and wellbeing in the community is really important to us and it’s a pleasure to bring some happiness to children who are in hospital during Christmas time. That’s been made even better with some of our players delivering the soft toys in person this year. “The response to the second year of our ‘Hurl a Hug’ soft toy donation has been fantastic and we’re delighted to hear this means that it’s being shared with children in the community as well as those who are in hospital.
“Not only have we had donations from people in this region but also from visitors who came from Billingham for the match last Saturday night.
On behalf of Solway Sharks a huge thank you to everyone who has supported ‘Hurl a Hug’.
Sarah Murphy, Deputy Charge Nurse DGRI children’s ward, said:
“On behalf of the children’s ward and Women and Children’s services I would like to thank the Solway Sharks for this lovely and generous donation and for taking the time to visit the ward to spend time with children and their families. “We are especially delighted as there have been no visits like this for over two years. It’s been lovely for children who are in hospital at Christmas time to pick out a soft toy given out by a special visitor, this brings a smile and comfort at what is a difficult time for them and for their families.
“Even better, the huge number of soft toys donated has meant that we can share them out with children in the community who use services at The Willows and Oak Tree Family Centre during Christmas time.”