YOUR St Helens Star is joining forces with young hospital patients this week to send out an SOS for help to build an outdoor play area at Whiston Hospital.

An appeal to raise the £20,000 needed to build a specialist playground in the quad at the hospital for children – who are both patients and visitors to the hospital – is being launched in partnership with the Star.

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The appeal, dubbed Playground SOS, has been launched by Whiston and St Hospitals’ Charity to create a safe place to visit whilst children are in hospital.

It will be an area to have some fun, fresh air and take their minds off treatment.

Helping to launch the charity appeal was celebrity DIY expert, Craig Phillips, the first winner of Big Brother, whose son was treated at the hospital several years ago following a severe allergic reaction.

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Craig said: “My own children were born here and there is personal place in my heart for Whiston Hospital. Its important to support the children who need to come here quite often and provide them with a safe space to play.

“A hospital is a daunting place for adults, so you can imagine how it feels to be a child coming for treatment, and any brightness we can bring to their stay is really important. I’m asking everyone to get behind this appeal and give what they can.”

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The hospital has been without a functioning outdoor play area for some time, but with the benefits of outdoors and outdoor play, patients and staff are looking for public support to raise the funds.

Dr Peter Williams, medical director, said: “Kids love to play – it’s simply a fact of life. Even when they aren’t feeling well, they often long for something fun to do.

“If we can offer our younger patients a fantastic place to play and have fun in our hospital, we will reduce their feelings of stress and anxiety and make the experience more positive for them and their families. This really will make a huge difference.”

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Readers are being urged to pledge their support to the campaign and help amass the necessary funds.

Ann Marr OBE, chief executive of the hospital trust, said: “We are excited to launch our Playground SOS appeal and I would like to personally thank our amazing team for all their brilliant ideas and support.

“We care for thousands of young people of all abilities each year and it’s vital that we provide an excellent hospital experience for every child when they need us most.

“A new playground will provide a much needed outdoor space to have fun or simply relax away from the wards and treatment areas.”

n If you would like to support Playground SOS, visit or call 0151 290 4400.

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