Keira’s Christmas wishes Gives the Gift of Comfort to Dr Kershaw’s Hospice patients

Junior fundraiser Keira Arnold decided to bring some joy and cheer this Christmas to Dr Kershaw’s Hospice day patients who have been unable to attend since lockdown began in March.

Keira’s dad Stephen was cared for by the Hospice’s dedicated doctors and nurses before he sadly passed away when she was just four years old.

Aged eight, Keira set up ‘Keira’s Wishes’ and over four years has raised £32,000, helping provide patients with their last wishes including bedside weddings, birthday parties, a trip to the seaside or simply a chippy tea.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Kershaw’s day patients have been unable to come into the Hospice since March and can’t attend their traditional Christmas lunch and celebrations.

Keira, now 13, inspired by the Hospice’s ‘Furnish with Love – Give the Gift of Comfort’ appeal to raise funds to furnish the family lounge in the new In-Patient Unit (IPU), asked if she could give her own gift of comfort in the form of special Christmas gifts.

Santa and Keira Arnold

Each of the 29 day patients at Dr Kershaw’s along with patients who are currently being cared for by the Hospice at Home team, received a special Christmas Comfort package funded by Keira, who also shopped for the goodies and helped to make up the packages.

Santa and his two little ‘elves’ – Dr Kershaw’s Health Care Assistants Debbie Smith and Janine Cockcroft – visited each day patient, sprinkling some Christmas cheer by dropping the ‘Gift of Comfort’ at each of their doorsteps.

Keira, who received the Diana Award last year for her incredible fundraising and care for the community, said: “I thought it would be a lovely surprise for the patients to have a personal visit from Santa with their very own goody bags to let them know they are being thought about and to bring them some joy at Christmas.”

The Christmas comfort packs included goodies such as mince pies, hot chocolate, crossword books and handwritten cards from pupils at St Anne’s R.C. Primary School, Royton.

Janine added: “We would have normally have had a Christmas party with lots of celebrations at the Hospice. It’s been wonderful to see the patients, spread some Christmas cheer and see the smiles on their faces.”

Despite receiving regular update phone calls, Hospice day patient Shirley Lowdnes had not seen Health Care Assistants Debbie and Janine since March and was thrilled to receive a visit and Christmas treats.

She said: “It was lovely to see Debbie and Janine. I’ve really missed them, they’ve helped me so much.

“The Christmas gifts were a wonderful surprise – I can’t get out much now so it was lovely to get some treats. I’m saving most of it to open at Christmas, but I’ve been working through the wordsearch book already.”

Dr Kershaw’s day patient Shirley Lowdnes is visited by Santa and Health Care Assistants Debbie Smith and Janine Cockcroft

Dr Kershaw’s Hospice would like to thank Keira for all her support with this initiative along with Iceland, Shaw and Linzi McCoy from North Stars Theatre Co for providing mince pies and Body Shop care packs.

To find out about how you can take part in fundraising or to make a donation to support the Hospice’s Christmas Appeal, call the Hospice’s Fundraising Team on 0161 624 9984 or visit:

Dr Kershaw’s Hospice provides free, specialist palliative care for adults with life-limiting illnesses in Oldham and its surrounding areas in a peaceful and homely environment.

To find out more , visit or call the Hospice on 0161 624 2727.

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