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ICU Secret Garden hosts therapy ponies and Santa’s grotto at Christmas

Therapy pony with patient

Therapy pony with member of staff

Derriford hospital’s level four lift doors opened to reveal two very special guests yesterday – Peanut and Wizzle, the miniature Shetland ponies. The therapy ponies were joined Poppy the therapy dog and Emazdad the Magician as Santa for a very special grotto held in the recently opened ICU Secret Garden.

Patients from across the Trust were invited to meet Santa and the ponies and thanks to the design of the new ICU Secret Garden, even patients who are confined to their beds were able to visit. Talking about a patient that was brought down in her bed, Specialist Sister Kate Tantam said: “The lady met the ponies, sobbed when she saw them and just kept saying thank you – animals motivate activity and this treat to our patients from the Rehab Legend team was beautiful”.

Therapy pony with patient Thanks to the Rebab Ledgend team, over 30 patients and numerous members of our #1BigTeam visited the grotto, with Poppy, Peanut and Wizzle, bringing a smile to everyone’s faces. Charlotte Pine from Dartmoor Carriages said: “To be able to bring Dartmoor Carriages’ Peanut and Wizzle in to see the children and staff fills me with happiness. If we can spread just a little joy, then that will make my Christmas”. The ponies were donned in Christmas outfits and reindeer headbands to make the occasion extra special for the patients.

Emazdad the Magician, who appeared as Santa for the event, said: “Putting a smile on children’s faces, especially when they’re in hospital, really means a lot to me. There’s nothing better and it makes me so happy to do it. And of course, giving back to the hospital and all the staff who work so hard, is the least I can do”.

Being in hospital over Christmas can be a very difficult and sad experience for many, but thanks to the Rehab Legend team who went above and beyond to organise the event, this experience gave patients back some Christmas magic.

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