PATIENTS and staff on Anstey Ward were not forgotten on Christmas Day when Santa stopped off at Alton Community Hospital to deliver gifts, cookies and a hefty dose of laughter to all those having to spend the festive season away from home this year.

On a day when many people are surrounded by family and friends, big-hearted Gareth Edwards (Santa), his wife Glenda (Mrs Claus) and sons Callam, Harry and Jonty were warmly welcomed by Anstey Ward manager Fiona Turner, as they gave up their Christmas morning to visit each patient in turn.

They brought a much-needed batch of yuletide cheer, warming spirits of patients and staff alike.

Nurse Jackie Ransom from the hospital thanked the visitors for their kindness which demonstrated the true spirit of Christmas.

“They were absolutely wonderful, and really brought a touch of Christmas joy to everyone spending the festive season in hospital this year,” she added.

Alton Community Hospital’s Anstey Ward provides a GP-led community bed facility for rehabilitation (including stroke), end-of-life (palliative) care and short-term in-patient nursing care for North Hampshire patients.

Also celebrating in December were children from Bentley Primary School (pictured), who sang carols to mark the occasion.