Sewing volunteers surprise for child cancer patients

CANCER patients at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh got a big surprise recently thanks to the generosity of local volunteers.

Hundreds of ‘bead-bags’ hand-sewn by well-wishers have arrived for youngsters on Ward 2 following a call for donations.

The children are taking part in the ‘Beads of Courage’ scheme, an initiative which allows young patients to create a unique record of all the treatments and procedures they’ve been through during their time in hospital, using colourful beads.

In order to keep the beads safe, each child is also given a bead-bag but recently, supplies of these were running low.

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Patients Euan Burns, 10, and Finlay Nicholson, 10, show off the new bead bags.

Jenny Tomes, Clinical Psychologist, said: “The children like to thread all their beads on to strings to represent all the experiences they have been through in hospital. To give the children somewhere to keep their precious beads safely, they are given a bead bag, a little cloth draw-string bag. We were getting low on supplies and so we put the word out to see if anyone could help.”

Jenny contacted the hospital’s Voluntary Services Manager, Denise Claxton, who set about recruiting some sewing volunteers.

Denise said: “We couldn’t believe it when parcels kept arriving! In the space of a few weeks around 150 bead bags in all different colours and patterns had been sewn and not just by our loyal NHS Lothian volunteers – but also by their friends and families, who were keen to help too.

“We’re really grateful to all those kind people who spent time making the bags so lovingly for the children on Ward 2.”

The ‘Beads of Courage’ programme is run by the charity Be Child Cancer Aware. To find out more visit: