Video: Fundraising mums deliver toy trove to Bergholt children’s ward at Ipswich Hospital

Zoe Barker and Gemma Read have raised nearly �2000 for the Bergholt childrens ward at Ipswich Hospit

Zoe Barker and Gemma Read have raised nearly �2000 for the Bergholt childrens ward at Ipswich Hospital. With the funds they have bought the ward toys and a much needed printer, and also presented the ward with a �500 cheque. Back L-R Hannah Foster, Jane Seymour, Keren Brooke, Hannah Phelps. Front L-R Gemma Read and Zoe Barker. - Credit: Archant

Christmas has come early for children staying at Ipswich Hospital, thanks to a generous donation from two Suffolk mums.

Zoe Barker and Gemma Read dropped off a haul of goodies at Bergholt Ward, having raised more than £2,000 from a family fun day held near their homes in Woodbridge.

It was the second time the friends have raised funds for the ward – last Christmas collecting £580 from a ladies pamper evening.

Mrs Barker’s four-year-old daughter, Isobel, and two-year-old daughter, Lola, both suffer from congenital myotonic dystrophy – a chronic muscle wasting disease.

The 25-year-old full time mum said: “When my first daughter was born she was very floppy and not breathing or feeding well. We were told she had this congenital condition, and since then she has been in and out of hospital for various reasons.

“My younger daughter also has it, but not as severely.

“Gemma’s daughters have also been in with coughs and colds, chest infections and pneumonia.

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“We both found out that everything in the playroom comes from fundraisers, so we decided to do something.

“They like to give gifts on birthdays and at Christmas, or if children are having a hard time. It’s really special thing to do.

Some of the children can be there for a long time.

“We had a lot of support from local businesses donating raffle prizes and from Toys ‘R’ Us, The Entertainer and John Lewis offering 20% off goods.”

Among the items donated were a printer, paper and ink for staff to make storybooks charting the children’s stays in hospital.

A £500 cheque was also handed to buy arts and crafts equipment.

The total raised was helped by a surprise donation of £800 from a Woodbridge resident whose two children also regularly used the ward.

Tesco, Morrisons, Revetts, Swiss Farm and Suffolk Meat Traders also helped out with food donations for the event.

Both of the friends’ events were held in and around the Warwick pub, in Woodbridge, where Gemma works, as well as being a nursery nurse.

They are also planning to hold a fundraising coffee morning at Christmas.