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Charity spreads a little magic at Rotherham Hospital

20 Feb 2018 10:13:14
Magic Tom

Poorly children being cared for at Rotherham Hospital are receiving tricks alongside their treatment thanks to a magician funded by the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity.

Armed with a host of awe-inspiring card games, balloon modelling skills, jokes and tricks, children’s entertainers like Magic Tom will be raising smiles on the children’s ward at Rotherham Hospital every month in 2018 thanks to £600 funding from the Charity’s Dr Ted children’s appeal.

Magic Tom, also known as Tom Hodgson, has been a professional magician for 10 years. He said: “My love for entertaining children in hospital stemmed from my first job at Leeds General Infirmary where a little boy recovering from an operation had the most amazing reaction to my tricks. He had a real interest in magic and his face lit up, despite how ill he was. 

“He made me realise how amazing it is to make children smile, even just for a few minutes, when they’re going through a tough time in hospital. It gives them a real lift, which is really important when you can’t play out with your friends or go to school as normal. It helps parents feel less anxious too when they see their children enjoy the show.

“Live magic is also a great distraction technique for youngsters who might be waiting for operations, a diagnosis or other treatment. The children’s ward at Rotherham Hospital has some wonderful facilities for children as well as Play Specialists on hand to help but I hope my jokes and tricks offer something different.”

Rihanna Smith, 11, of Catcliffe Primary School, was recently treated at Rotherham Hospital for juvenile arthritis. Despite her illness, she enjoyed Magic Tom’s tricks during her stay. 

She said: “I’ve been here on and off for about four weeks and it can be really boring being stuck in hospital. I miss my school friends but they send me messages to cheer me up and Tom’s magic has made me smile. His tricks are really good and I think it would be great to have him here more often to help more children smile too.”

Tom was introduced to the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity by national children’s charity Pod, which helps to fund professional entertainers for children’s wards in NHS hospitals across the country. Unfortunately, a sponsor couldn’t be found by Pod to continue to fund monthly the visits in Rotherham for 2018, until the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity stepped in.

Gabby Atmarow, Chair of the Charitable Funds Committee, said: “We are really proud to be able to work with charities like Pod who are also committed to making sure children and young people have the best possible experience of their time in hospital despite the problems they face. 

“Thank you to everyone who supports the Dr Ted children’s appeal because it means we can fund resources, equipment, toys or entertainment like this which help to spread a little magic to youngsters in Rotherham when they need it most.”

Margaret Munford MBE, Pod administrator, added: “I’ve always believed that happy children get better quicker. Our magicians, puppeteers, musicians and clowns all bring joy to the lives of children in more than 150 hospitals and hospices across the country, including Rotherham. I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported the Dr Ted children’s appeal as you have helped us continue our dream of providing this valuable service.”

For more information about the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity please contact Suzanne Rutter on 01709 426821 or via Charity@rothgen.nhs.uk.