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Wally never! World Book Day comes to Southend Hospital

02 March 2017


Where’s Wally? Turns out he’s helping bring World Book Day to poorly children on Neptune Children’s Ward at Southend University Hospital.

Alongside the hospital's Education Centre Library and with the help of the Jacqson Diego Story Emporium, from Southend, the magic of books was brought to the ward and the hospital's Ladybird Nursery.

Lisa Kawa-Akenbo, Play Specialist on Neptune Ward, said: "This year marks the 20th year of World Book Day so it would have been a shame for those too poorly to attend school or activities to miss out, so we wanted to help bring the day to them."

The day aims to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading, with the book themes this year at the hospital being 'Everyone Loves Underpants' by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort and 'Where's Wally' by Martin Handford.

Stories were read in groups, as well as to individuals who were unable to leave their beds, there were also plenty of associated craft activities to help keep them occupied.

Lisa added: "It's been fantastic celebrating World Book Day on the ward.  It's provided an opportunity for our patients to be part of this national event.  The books the children and young people have received through this scheme will keep them entertained during their time in hospital.  The Story Emporium's activities and stories have been a wonderful distraction during a potentially stressful time."

Joshua Davey, 12, from Southend, said: "It's been epic and nice to have some stories read to us, I've had a really good time and got a free book as well. As I'm not at school I would have missed out otherwise."

And Jacqueline Johnson, founder of Jacqson Diego Story Emporium, hoped that the delights that they help bring to children at Southend University Hospital will be a chapter that long continues.

She said: "Celebrating World Book Day with the children and staff on Neptune Ward and at the hospital's Ladybird Nursery has become an annual event for us at Jacqson Diego Story Emporium. It is our favourite event in the calendar and we are proud to support our local hospital and the children, by bringing books and stories to life for them on this day.

"World Book Day is 20 years old this year! 20 years of celebrating the wonder and power of books and we look forward to sharing many more books and stories with the children who find their lives connected to the hospital in the future."

Lynda Bartholomew, Manager of the Ladybird Nursery, added: "We were delighted to celebrate World Book Day with Jacqson Diego Story Emporium again this year. The children thoroughly enjoyed joining in with the wonderful activities provided and loved using their tokens to purchase a book in the nursery role play library area. Staff and children in the nursery dressed up as Wally or their favourite book character which also added to the excitement on the day. Thank you Jacqson Diego Story Emporium for making World Book Day such a special occasion."

Emma Silvey, Assistant Librarian (Clinical and Outreach) at the hospital, concluded: "We feel that it is really important to ensure that children in hospital don't miss out on World Book Day and are proud to be working again with Neptune Ward, the Ladybird Nursery and Jacqson Diego Story Emporium to help co-ordinate this event."