Spring has come early for families supported by Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice as special gift boxes put huge smiles on children’s faces across South Yorkshire and beyond.

The charity would ordinarily host a variety of fun-filled Easter and spring events at the hospice for the families in its care to get together and make precious memories. But while it’s not possible in the same way this year, it hasn’t stopped Bluebell Wood spreading some much-needed sunshine in the run-up to Easter.

Families have been sent a box packed full of spring-themed goodies and activities, thanks to a generous £500 donation from the Tickhill & District Lions which helped fund the boxes.

Fourteen-year-old Kian Critchley, who has a life shortening condition and has been visiting Bluebell Wood for  respite care since the hospice opened, was over the moon to receive his spring surprise. Kian’s not able to walk and talk, but his smile when he opened the box says it all. 

“During lockdown we’ve all lost a lot in terms of what we can do but knowing that Bluebell Wood is still there for us is such a massive weight off,” said Kian’s dad, Tony, from Doncaster.

“It’s our second home and we’ve really missed the amazing events at the hospice this past year which are such an important point of our lives, so thoughful gestures like this mean so much to us.

“Kian absolutely loved receiving his box and the fact that it came from Bluebell Wood makes it all the more special.”

The spring boxes are just the latest example of the ways Bluebell Wood has adapted its care this past year to make sure no families have to go through the pandemic alone. From virtual events and surprise visits from Bluebell Wood ‘elves’ to remote support groups and activity sessions, the charity has offered a raft of new services in response to the pandemic, while retaining the majority of the other life-changing services that so many families rely on.

Emma Doughty, Head of Family Support at Bluebell Wood, said: “Throughout the past year we’ve all worked incredibly hard to help the families in our care make magical memories together, even if we can’t always be together in person.

“So we’re delighted to see such a wonderful response to our latest surprise and, without giving anything away, there will be plenty more to come!"

“We’d also like to say a big thank you to the Tickhill Lions for their generous donation and ongoing support.”

The charity is encouraging supporters who would like to donate gifts to the hospice this Easter to avoid sending Easter eggs or chocolate.

Many of the children who visit the hospice are unable to eat chocolate so Bluebell Wood is asking those wanting to donate gifts to instead use the hospice’s Amazon wishlist, which can be found here