Independent bookshop Kibworth Books has raised more than £2,000, to gift books to children being treated in Leicester Royal Infirmary over Christmas.
The bookshop’s initial aim was to raise enough money via donations to gift a book to every child in the 130 beds on the wards, contributing to the hospital’s Christmas gifting campaign run by the University Hospitals of Leicester’s specialist play team.
For every donation made, Kibworth Books pledged to top up by a further 20%. The fundraising total currently stands at just under £2,248 including the bookshop’s contribution. The team has now pledged to run the fundraising campaign for a further 12 months to support the play team's other activities.
It was organised by Kibworth Books’ children’s specialist bookseller Kirsty Woods, following three recent hospital stays with two of her children. Reflecting on her longest stay of nine days with her baby daughter Edie, she said: “It was an understandably difficult and anxious time but was made all the more bearable - not just by the exceptional care — but by visits from the play specialist team who supplied books to keep Edie entertained while she steadily recovered.
"Having someone pop by to see us, with smiles, words of encouragement, and a book to engage Edie with made a world of difference. Needless to say, Edie loved the books, and I felt so grateful for the support of all staff at the hospital that I really wanted to find a way to say thank you. Being a bookseller myself, raising funds to gift more books to children and share the power of a good book felt like the obvious answer."
Kibworth Books has set up a fundraising page on its website where customers can pledge any amount from £1 upwards. Donations can also be made in-store during the shop’s opening hours.
“On behalf of the patients, families and staff at Leicester Children's Hospital we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone at Kibworth Books for their wonderful contribution of books that will be given to the children and young people over the Christmas period," said Sally Shepherd, lead co-ordinator for the UHL play team.
"During the pandemic we have encouraged our patients to rediscover the benefits and the enjoyment that books can bring to all ages, and we send our sincere appreciation for thinking of us and for helping us to make Christmas so special for our patients.”
The bookshop previously ran a campaign gifting copies of the book The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris (Hamish Hamilton), raising enough money to send out 133 copies to schools across Leicester and beyond.
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