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Spirit Of Christmas On Show In Memory Of Johnno

By Dan Hutton on December 8, 2015 in News

Photo: James Hutton

Photo: James Hutton

This festive season, when you’re out shopping or sitting down to wrap all of those presents you’ve bought for your loved ones, spare a thought for the sick kids and their families who will be spending Christmas Day in hospital, and take the time to wrap up an extra gift for someone who might appreciate it just that little bit more than your whiny sister or ungrateful dad.

On Sunday, December 20, local legend Mal Ward will be holding his eighth annual Forever Johnno Christmas Presents for Sick Kids event at the Coogee Bay Hotel.

The event is held in loving memory of Mal’s son Johnno, who fought a gallant battle against childhood liver disease before passing away in 2008. Mal and Johnno spent many a Christmas in hospital, and that was the catalyst for this fantastic initiative.

“Johnno loved Christmas and he was very close to his hospital family,” Mal said. “He would be very pleased with what is being done in his name.”

All the presents collected on the day will be placed under a Christmas tree to be collected by Mal and his Little Helpers the next morning, and donated to the kids at the Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick and Westmead Children’s Hospital.

“We received 161 presents in the first year and now we get up to 1,400 presents,” Mal said. “Every child in hospital and their siblings will a receive a present.”

The festivities begin at 1pm and there’ll be plenty of helpers on hand to assist with present wrapping. There’ll also be a free barbecue, bar facilities and entertainment including face painting from 2pm to 5pm. Santa will be in the house at 4pm, so bring along the children and teach them the true meaning of Christmas.

There will also be a raffle on the day, and the proceeds will be used to buy presents for the nursing staff at the hospitals.

If you can’t make it on the day, presents can be left with Erik de Haart at CTBS, 17A Doncaster Ave, Kensington.

For any enquires or raffle donations, please call Mal on 0414 293 396.