Youngsters enjoy festive fun at The Royal London Hospital

Owen Bishop with his mum Katy and Santa Claus at The Royal London Hospital

Owen Bishop with his mum Katy and Santa Claus at The Royal London Hospital - Credit: Archant

More than 80 youngsters and their families enjoyed a Christmas party to kick off the festivities at The Royal London Hospital on Friday.

A children’s entertainer provided festive fun with games and a disco, ‘Miss Ballooniverse’ wowed with balloon-shapes and youngsters had their faces painted and got messy in the arts and crafts corner.

There was even a special visit from Santa Claus, who gave gifts to children while his elves captured the special moment with family photos.

The event was organised by Barts Health staff, who dressed as Christmas fairies, and Barts Charity.

Nigel Rose, senior charge nurse in paediatrics, said: “We always try to make being at the hospital as enjoyable as possible for children and we know this is especially important at Christmas. I am delighted that the Christmas party brought cheer to children on the wards, and I was particularly pleased to see so many of our children come from home with parents and siblings to share in the fun.”

Parents Katy and Scott Bishop travelled to the Christmas party with their family from their home in Hampshire. Their son Owen, 4, was diagnosed at 10 months old with retinoblastoma (cancer of the eye) and since then has undergone chemotherapy and surgery for reoccurring tumours in both of his eyes. Mum Katy regularly travels to The Royal London Hospital with Owen, one of only two hospitals in the country to treat children with retinoblastoma.

The Bishops decided to take Owen and their three girls – Toni-Marie,12, Isabelle, 8, and Gracie, 7, – to join the Christmas party in hope that the party atmosphere will help reassure him about coming for appointments.

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Katy said: “We wanted this to be a positive experience at the hospital for Owen; the party is such a good idea for him and the other children. Seeing the new hospital with its great children’s areas has also been reassuring for his sisters.

“I hope it will make it nicer for Owen to come here for appointments because he’ll have such good memories from today and on future train journeys we can talk about all the fun things we did.”

Sabrina Luca, from Bethnal Green, accompanied her six-year-old daughter Mia to the Christmas party. In August, Mia completed chemotherapy for leukaemia, which was diagnosed in June 2011.

Sabrina said: “As well as chemotherapy, Mia has had to come here a lot to have regular lumbar punches and check-ups but she isn’t afraid, she is very happy at the hospital.”