KGH porter’s cracking idea to bring festive cheer to patients

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A kind-hearted hospital porter is hoping to pull off a festive feat by visiting every patient on Christmas Day to open a cracker with them.

Liam Coulson is appealing for donations of Christmas crackers and Christmas cards to make sure patients at Kettering General Hospital don’t miss out on the festivities, especially those who don’t have family or friends to visit them.

Mr Coulson, 24, said he was prompted into action after a patient told him she was lonely.

He said: “There was one particular lady who started crying and was saying she didn’t have anybody.

“I said to her, “well, you’ve got me” and the look on her face got me thinking.

“I could just imagine what it’s like at Christmas if you’re sitting there alone while other patients have got family all around them.

“I’m lucky that with my job, I get to chat to patients and sometimes that’s all they need if they haven’t got friends and family.

“For me, Christmas is about having my family around and I would hate to think that when I’m older, I could be on my own.

“I want to do this for patients while I’ve got the chance.”

Mr Coulson is planning to start handing out crackers and chatting to patients at about 7am on Christmas Day before his shift starts at 10.30am.

He estimates he will need about 800 crackers and cards and any left over will be given to care home residents.

Mr Coulson, who has worked at the hospital for just over a year and lives in Victoria Street, Kettering, said: “A few people have already said that if it’s taking me a bit longer to go round the wards, they will help out.

“I’d like to give out cards too so that patients have something they can put on the cupboards by their beds.

“That might also be an alternative for some patients, like those with dementia, who might not like the noise of a cracker being pulled. I’m trying to cater for everyone.”

He added: “I just hope I don’t injure my arm before Christmas Day.”

Mr Coulson has already been promised 25 boxes of crackers from Morrisons and is hoping for similar support from the other major supermarkets.

Anyone wanting to donate crackers and cards can contact Mr Coulson through Facebook or call him on 07568 480455.

Donations can also be left at the hospital’s main reception for the attention of Liam Coulson.