Inspired by one of the first families to be supported by Bluebell Wood, the managing director of PMT Engineering has brought Christmas early to the children’s hospice for the seventh year in a row.
Matching the amount raised by donations from his business contacts, Paul Tomkins from the Worksop-based engineering firm, and his wife Michelle, have brought a treasure trove of new toys to Bluebell Wood.
Paul has done this for the last seven years in honour of his friends Steve and Jane Knight, whose daughter Emma was cared for at home by Bluebell Wood before she passed away at the age of 13.
Paul asks for donations from the businesses PMT Engineering deals with and then doubles the total raised at the end of each year. Every year Paul speaks to the care team at Bluebell Wood to find out what toys would be most useful and then takes those to the North Anston children’s hospice. So far he has raised over £8,000 for Christmas presents for Bluebell Wood.
Emma Knight loved dancing, clothes and Sheffield Wednesday. After she was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2004, Bluebell Wood’s Care Team members cared for her at home, providing overnight support once a week. When Emma’s condition progressed, nurses provided 40 hours of support a week.
After Emma passed away, she was the first child to stay in Bluebell Wood’s Forget Me Not end of life suite. This provided space and time for Emma’s much-loved friends and family to say their goodbyes. Her parents Jane and Steve have since raised tens of thousands for Bluebell Wood in Emma’s memory and Jane is a Care Team Support Worker at the children’s hospice.
Paul Tomkins said: “I played football with Steve many moons ago, struck up a good friendship with him and we have been friends ever since. I’m aware of what Steve and Jane went through and just want to give something back to such an amazing cause.
“We really enjoy collecting the toys. Running a business can be all-consuming so this gives us a bit of a break and takes our minds off work for a while. More importantly, Christmas can be a difficult time of year for Bluebell Wood families so we just want to do our bit to support them.”
Emma Doughty, Head of Family Support and Wellbeing Services, Bluebell Wood, said: “We’d like to say a really big thank you to Paul, Michelle and everyone who has donated to PMT Engineering’s Christmas toys appeal over the last seven years. Bluebell Wood aims to create special memories for our children and families and this has gone a long way in helping us do that.”
If anyone would like to gift a toy to Bluebell Wood this Christmas they can do this by visiting the charity’s Amazon wishlist at www.bluebellwood.org/wishlist