Thousands raised by St Albans residents for nurses’ Christmas party after let down

Lisa Dance, Chloe James employee, set up the fundraiser in aid of the Watford General's Neonatal Unit's Christmas party

Lisa Dance, Chloe James employee, set up the fundraiser in aid of the Watford General's Neonatal Unit's Christmas party

Archant

More than £1,700 has been raised in less than a week to fund a cancelled Christmas party for a group of hardworking nurses, after a shop worker heard about their misfortune.

Nurses at the neonatal unit at Watford General Hospital lost more than £1,600 after the company with which they booked their Christmas party went bankrupt.

They were booked to have their party at the Noke Hotel in Chiswell Green and each paid £40 of their own money to an external party organiser - all of which was lost when the company went bust.

The Noke agreed to honour the booking - but only if the nurses paid the sum once again.

Lisa Dance, who works at gift shop and boutique Chloe James in St Albans, was serving one of the nurses on Friday (18) when she was told about what happened.

Following the conversation, and upset about what had happened, Lisa took to the Facebook group, St Albans Mums, to ask if anyone would want to chip in towards the nurses’ do.

She told the Herts Advertiser: “The NHS get really bad press and they’re really understaffed, underpaid, underappreciated, and of all of the people you wouldn’t want this to happen to it would be nurses.

“I had all three of my kids in Watford and Tom, my youngest, actually spent a few days in the unit when he was born.”

Lisa went on: “It transpired that the nurse who came in was actually working in the baby unit when he was there.”

She subsequently set up a fundraising page and collection pot in the shop, raising more than £1,700 over the course of the weekend.

Lisa said: “I absolutely couldn’t believe it when I saw how much had been raised. So many people, and so many lovely messages.

“I think because I put it on St Albans Mums and so many of the mums had actually had their babies in Watford it resonated with them.”

She added: “I’m overwhelmed and really, really, really pleased. It was just a little gesture on my part. I thought we might be able to give them a little bit back - I didn’t think for a second we could give them it all back.”

Many people have expressed their gratitude to the nurses on the fundraising page. Audrey Mitchell commented: “Watford Neonatal Unit cared for my 23 weeker and 35 weeker, they have become family... Have fun on your night out.”

Another, Jemma Walsh, said: “Thank you for saving my little girl’s life. Hope you have a fun night out.”

One grandfather, Brian Pollard, whose two grandsons were supported by the unit, commented on the page: “Both came into the world at 30 weeks and I cannot begin to put into words how much these amazing people do to help our families be complete.

“They really are the salts of the earth and we should all be grateful for this little building in Watford most of us never really take any notice of, that is until we are ourselves part of the fabric of the building and day-to-day workings of this amazing place.

“Go have the best Christmas party on all of us! You deserve it and so so much more! Thanks You [sic] will never be enough.”

If you would like to donate please click here or pop into Chloe James, where the collection pot will remain until the end of Saturday.

The event is still due to be held at The Noke, but the hotel manager declined to comment.

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Recently we, as a family (minus two of the kids), visited The Lodge RSPB reserve in Sandy, Bedfordshire. I had never been before, which is perhaps amiss of me as a birdwatcher as it is the headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or RSPB and only 45 minutes drive from home.

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