A PIRATE-THEMED outdoor play area at Warrington Hospital’s children’s ward has officially opened following two years of fundraising.

WHH Charity launched the Making Waves campaign to fund the new safe space for young patients and their families to enjoy while in hospital.

The children were encouraged to draw pictures of their chosen playground theme during their stay.

The fundraising campaign has been supported by foundations, companies, members of the Warrington community and by hospital staff and included everything from cake bakes and marathons to roller skating and abseiling down the hospital’s post graduate centre.

Twins Ruben and Elena Evans-Guillen from Padgate captured the hearts of the town with their determination to run 100km in 2018 to raise £500 with their Running4DrOzzy campaign.

They smashed this target with more than £15,000 raised to date and were recognised for their achievement with the Young British Citizen’s Award at a ceremony at Westminster.

The theme of the play area carries the existing nautical theme on the ward into the garden with a splash.

A large play pirate ship stands in the centre while the colours of the sea form of an all-weather proof flooring with pictures of sea creatures within it.

There are interactive games and seating areas with something for everyone – bean bag corners for the teenagers, standalone interactive games and wheelchair and bed access to the garden in addition to a lovely sensory garden.

A grant of £16,000 from the D M Thomas Foundation (Hilton in the Community) was the final icing on the cake which enabled the completion of the play area.

Corporate support also came from Assura and Sellafield Ltd while in the community young Brodie Carr, the Hope Academy ambassadors and Sacred Heart Primary School choir all worked to support the outdoor transformation.

Support was also shown by many community groups and members of the public who all jumped aboard the fundraising effort.

Professor Simon Constable deputy chief executive and medical director said: “The Pirate play area is a testament to the sheer determination of our ward and hospital staff to make coming to hospital the best possible experience for our youngest patients.”

“This has been one of the most exciting and well-supported fundraising campaigns that we have run since creating WHH Charity.

“We are so grateful to Ruben and Elena who have been with us on our journey for the past 18 months and have turned out in rain, hail and sunshine to run for our patients – they should be enormously proud of their achievement – we certainly are.

“The outdoor area is provided to try to bring a little normality to our patients and their families and now is a perfect platform for interaction, relaxation and recuperation- this will make a huge difference to our patients and their families/guardians.”

Jill Holland, play specialist, said: “Play has been proven to relax and help with the healing process, a distraction to the surrounding environment for both patient and their worried families could certainly help with most stressful situations.

“Providing poorly children with the opportunity to interact and play with others aids recovery.”

Helen Higginson, head of fundraising for WHH Charity added: “We are so proud to have been part of this incredible journey - working alongside so many passionate and committed staff, companies and individuals is truly an honour.

“We are so grateful to everyone who has contributed to making our children’s dream a reality.”