Back by popular demand, Santa’s appearance was once again made possible by Bourn Hall’s Essex fertility clinic.
Crowd-pleaser Santa kicked off the Christmas festivities in style this weekend at the annual Wickford At Christmas Street Fair – leading the opening procession down the High Street before taking a seat in his grotto for an afternoon of meeting families.
Santa has been sponsored since 2017 by Bourn Hall Clinic which has a purpose-built fertility clinic in the town centre – and two mums who struggled with infertility were amongst the first to take their children along to get an audience with him.
Amanda from Wickford met Santa with her four-year-old son Alfie.
“Christmas is all about children and the smiles on their faces so I feel incredibly lucky to have had the chance to experience taking my child to see Father Christmas,” says Amanda. “It fills my heart with joy.”
Amanda was 30 when she and husband Michael were told they would need IVF. Amanda only had two periods a year and says she felt like ‘the clock was ticking’ as so many of her friends already had children or were expecting.
“I didn’t have any close friends who had struggled so it was quite isolating,” she says.
After successful IVF at Bourn Hall Amanda and Michael became parents in May 2018. “It was amazing when Alfie was born,” says Amanda. “I couldn’t believe this child was mine, it was magical.”
Also at the Fair to meet Santa was Laura from South Ockendon and her five-year-old daughter Agatha.
“It was so lovely to see Santa with Agatha,” says Laura who describes her daughter as ‘an early Christmas present’ explaining: “She was born in October and the run-up to Christmas always feels extra special and reminds me of those early weeks with her.
“I had always wondered if I might have problems getting pregnant as all the women in my family suffer with heavy periods and my mum ended up having to have a hysterectomy when she was in her forties.
“We turned to IVF and were lucky enough to be entitled to NHS funding. Bourn Hall was our clinic of choice and we have always been so pleased with our decision.”
Laura and husband Jodie’s IVF treatment at Bourn Hall worked first time. “Agatha really was our Christmas miracle,” adds Laura.
Joining the families and Santa at the Wickford At Christmas Fair was Becky Green who recently joined Bourn Hall to lead the Essex nursing team. She was previously at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital where she worked as a delivery suite coordinator.
“Wickford At Christmas is such a special time to celebrate with families and friends,” says Becky. “It has been a pleasure getting to meet some of the Bourn Hall families today and hear their stories. Having only recently started working at Bourn Hall it just reiterates the amazing work being done here in Wickford and makes me excited for my future working at the clinic.”
Bourn Hall Clinic treats both NHS-funded and self-funded IVF patients in Essex. There is currently a postcode lottery for patients and where a couple lives, or who their GP is, can dictate whether they are eligible for NHS funding for IVF treatment.
The Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB) has now opened a consultation about how a fairer policy should be implemented and is proposing to offer two cycles of funded IVF to all patients who meet the strict criteria.
There is a simple survey to complete – closing date 18th December 2022
- Online: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/MidSouthEssexTalkToUs/
- Emailing: [email protected]
- Writing: NHS Mid and South Essex ICB, Phoenix Court, Christopher Martin Road, Basildon, Essex, SS14 3HG.