CHRISTMAS shoppers are being given the opportunity to donate presents to children who are currently sick in hospital.

Churchill Square’s giving tree campaign returned yesterday in partnership with Rockinghorse, the children’s charity, to try and bring some Christmas cheer to children in hospitals around Sussex.

There are three giving trees around the Brighton shopping centre, which have tags on them with items that people can buy from shops in the centre.

People can then return to the tree with the unwrapped present to be given to Rockinghorse, which will then provide the presents to children in the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, in Brighton, and beyond.

The giving tree, which is in its 11th year, saw more than 460 gifts worth over £4,300 donated to Rockinghorse, who are the official fundraising arm of the Royal Alexandra, and raise money to provide life-saving equipment and specialist services for babies, children and their families across Sussex.

Mark Buchanan-Smith, centre director at Churchill Square, said: “It was a really touching moment being able to deliver so many gifts to Rockinghorse last Christmas despite lockdowns affecting the Christmas shopping period.

“We’re looking forward to making it bigger and better this year, lots of very special children will receive a wonderful surprise.”

The Argus: Picture from Liz Finlayson of one of the gift tags on the tree.Picture from Liz Finlayson of one of the gift tags on the tree.

Janella Merritt, head of fundraising at Rockinghorse, said they hope to “make Christmas memorable” for those sick children and their families.

She said: “It’s wonderful to be working with Mark and the team at Churchill Square again this year. Each year shoppers who visit the centre are so generous with their donations for children spending Christmas in hospital and we hope this year is no different.

“Our aim at this time of year is to make Christmas memorable for those children and their families, so despite not being at home they can still enjoy this magical time of year.”

Rockinghorse does not receive any government funding and relies on the generous support of individuals, community groups, schools, companies and trusts.

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