FROM skydiving to hiking and fitness events and donations, the community has worked together to donate a combined £13,000 for Whiston Hospital’s Playground appeal.

Eight weeks ago, The Star helped Whiston Hospital launch their Playground SOS appeal, asking for help to raise the £20,000 needed to create an accessible and vibrant play area for children in and visiting the Outstanding rated hospital.

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The ambitious appeal, backed by the first Big Brother winner Craig Phillip, whose son was treated at the hospital some years ago, has seen the community rally together to help reach the target in a bid to create a safe space to reduce anxiety and boost wellbeing for children.

This was highlighted in a video with current and former child patients at the trust explaining what this playground will mean to them, St Helens always unites when people are most in need and this time was no different.

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One example is Gary Crickson, owner of Forge Fitness, which held a two-day charity event raising an impressive £2,346.

Gary said: “I have children myself and I’d like to know that if my kids were in hospital, they would have somewhere lovely to play to help them recover.”

The Rainhill gym held a two-day event that included fitness classes, games and raffles with plenty of prizes donated from local businesses.

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Pupils and parents from Tower College raised £590 from their Best of British Day and Team 1C, a charity made up with parents from across the NorthWest who have children with heart issue and that co-founded by Claire Cathcart, a Moss Bank mum whose son Jake was born with a rare genetic condition first picked up at Whiston Hospital, donated £1,000.

A group of hospital trust staff also took part in a charity sky-dive, and in a few weeks’ time, Rainford Ladies Athletics FC will be running an eye watering 206 miles, the equivalent distance of Rainford to Wembley, for the playground appeal.

Charity Fundraiser at Whiston and St Helens Hospital Trust, Dee Littler said, “We have been overwhelmed by the support from the local community and businesses.

“Everyone has really got behind our Playground SOS campaign and we are incredibly grateful for their generosity.

St Helens Star: Tower College pupils

“We’re halfway there, which is fantastic, so let’s keep going and give our youngest patients the playground they deserve.”

TV star, Craig Phillips, thanked the community for all their efforts so far, and along with patient Harry Thomson, aged nine, asked everyone to please keep on giving.

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