Bristol Bear Harry Thacker backs V Cars’ Christmas partnership with Bristol Children’s Hospital where baby daughter is treated

Jack Price – V Cars, Harry Thacker – Bristol Bears, Helen Haskell – The Grand Appeal / Bristol Children’s Hospital

Harry Thacker has announced his support for V Cars’ Christmas pledge to donate 30p from each festive fare booked via the V Cars app to Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal’s Christmas Campaign.

Taxis booked by app from now until the end of December will benefit The Grand Appeal – the dedicated charity for Bristol Children’s Hospital – and the many children from across the South West and South Wales who will find themselves in hospital this Christmas, often unexpectedly, and needing urgent care.

The Bears hooker and his young family have received tremendous support from the hospital since their four-month-old baby daughter Eloise was born with a heart condition.

He says: “V Cars’ donation is great, especially in these times when not many people are able to give as much as they would like to. The charity is very deserving of it.

“We found out at the 20-week scan that Eloise had a heart condition and were moved to St Michael’s Hospital, as she would have to be born there, because of her heart defect. When she was born, she took a turn for the worst, and had to have a life saving operation, as her condition was more complex than first anticipated.

“She is now being closely monitored by the Paediatric Team at the Children’s Hospital, with the plan being to undergo open heart surgery when she is big enough and strong enough to cope with this kind of procedure.”

Harry, partner Charlotte and big brother Jackson, two, have been back and forth to the hospital and are very grateful for the support received from the expert team of key workers there.

The donation by the private hire taxi firm, which is part of the Veezu Group, will also help those patients already in hospital who are too sick to leave and will spend their Christmas in hospital far from home.

Jack Price, Regional Director for V Cars explains: “Bristol Children’s Hospital charity, The Grand Appeal is a fantastic cause, and we are delighted to support it. Christmas away from home is a difficult time for children and their families, especially in these challenging times. At V Cars, we try and support our local communities, wherever we can. We have made this appeal as easy as possible for Bristolians to get involved in. Instead of booking by telephone, simply book by app and we will make a contribution to The Grand Appeal. It’s that simple.”

The Grand Appeal has continued to provide its services to support the staff, families and patients, like Eloise this year, helping them to navigate the most difficult times in their lives, made even more complicated by the pandemic.

Harry continued: “We have spent a bit of time at the hospital and seen the fantastic work this charity provides to help children and their families at some of the hardest times in their lives.

“We have spent some time on the Dolphin and Picu wards and have been inspired by the work done there.

“Eloise just carries on being closely monitored by the cardiac team for the foreseeable future, until they feel the time is right to go ahead with her planned surgery.”

Helen Haskell, Corporate Partnerships Manager at Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal, explains: “We are so grateful to V Cars for this great gesture. Like many charities, we have seen a fall in donations this year and our usual fundraising activities have been limited because of lockdown and social distancing requirements.

“Support like this from V Cars helps in so many ways, from providing the comfort of a place to stay for parents in the charity’s family accommodation to the distraction of a music therapy session and the funding of specialist support staff, research and equipment that will help save lives, not just at Christmas, but all year round.”

By booking travel through the V Cars app and supporting Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal’s Christmas Campaign, £20 could fund a present for a child or young adult spending their Christmas in hospital; £50 could fund themed craft and play activities delivered by the Play Department. One hundred pounds could fund four music therapy sessions, helping children to express their feelings and focus on something other than their treatment and £200 could fund a week’s stay in family accommodation, which enables parents to stay close to their child and for them to be together at this special time of year.

V Cars has supported the city throughout the pandemic – offering a Click and Collect Service for customers, as well as providing a takeaway service for takeaway food and medical prescriptions, to help those who were self-isolating or shielding.

The company introduced additional safety and hygiene measures early on in lockdown, to reassure both passengers and driver partners and to keep the city moving safely and efficiently.

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