Local people from Caterham to Crawley are getting into the festive spirit to raise money for East Surrey Hospital’s new neonatal intensive care unit.

Individuals, groups and organisations across the community have embraced Olive’s Appeal – the campaign launched by SASH Charity earlier this year, with a series of festive fundraising activities springing up across the region.

Olive’s appeal is a major fund raising appeal to help East Surrey Hospital’s new neonatal unit go further for the 500 babies a year who need special care and their families. It is inspired by Olive – a happy and healthy three year old girl from Bletchingley – who was born more than three months early and spent much of her first 110 days on the unit. Work is underway to build a brand new unit at the hospital in Redhill, and SASH Charity is been calling on local people to help raise funds for additional state-of-the-art equipment and better facilities for families. This Christmas the community have answered that call, with a range of activities taking place.

Both Caterham Ladies Joggers and Reigate Ladies Joggers have held Tinsel Runs and social events with proceeds going to the campaign, along with Totally Mama fitness (led by GB triathlete Kat Mason), who held a Christmas Run for local mums in aid of the appeal. On 29 December Limpsfield Fitness are holding a guided mountain bike ride from Oxted to the hospital also in support of the Charity.

Local schools have joined in the effort too, with Oxted based Hazelwood School’s parent’s association hosting a stall and mince pie auction at their Christmas Fair and Reigate Parish School’s four nativity plays raising money for the unit.

Redhill based global technology firm Cubic are donating the proceeds of their staff’s Christmas fundraising activities to the appeal, while Christ Central church are raising money through a jazz night, Christmas film screenings and a Carol service. Squire’s Garden Centre in Reigate are also donating proceeds from its Santa’s Grotto to the campaign.

Michael Wilson CBE, chief executive of Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Our new unit neonatal unit is progressing well and will be open in 2020. It will provide much better space and equipment and the funds raised through Olive’s Appeal will help us go even further and provide the truly exceptional experience that local families deserve. We are humbled and extremely grateful for the support our community are showing for this appeal.”

To find out more about Olive’s Appeal and how you can join the effort, head to https://olivesappeal.org/