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Christmas at Ronald McDonald House in Tooting

Christmas at Ronald McDonald House in Tooting

Ronald McDonald House Charities provides ‘home away from home’ accommodation to families with sick children in hospital.

This month, Steph Freeborough, House Assistant at Ronald McDonald House in Tooting, talks about the special Christmas events they’ve been holding and how they help families over the festive period.

At Ronald McDonald House Charities, we see every day how important it is to be close to your family – especially when your child is seriously ill.

When it comes to the festive period we understand what a difficult time it can be. That’s why all the Ronald McDonald Houses across the UK go to great efforts to make Christmas special for our families.

Tedder family with hamper

During December, our London Houses (Tooting, Evelina London, Camberwell and Moorfields) take part in lots of festive fun. Earlier this month, we held our annual Carols by Candlelight concert at St-Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square. We heard from exceptional performers including Isabella King, a blind pianist who is also a patient at Moorfields Eye Hospital and has stayed at Ronald McDonald House Moorfields. It was also a treat to hear from the English National Opera, internationally acclaimed clarinettist Emma Johnson MBE, soprano soloist Alexandra Kennedy, the London Welsh Rugby Club and the American Women’s Club.

We also had an exceptional speech delivered by our wonderful Tooting House Governor and Children’s Consultant at St George’s Hospital, Dr. Nick Prince, who said: “I’ve worked in four of the six London hospitals that treat critically ill children and they’re all incredible places in their own right, but they’re all similar in the limited facilities that they have for the parents.

“So that’s why Ronald McDonald House Charities is so important. I’ve experienced the wonderful Tooting House, led so well by Rachel’s team, but I know all the Houses are the same across the country.

“Truly a ‘home away from home’ with the central facilities; washing, cooking, sleeping and perhaps even WiFi!”

Later in December, our Tooting House held a stall at the annual Christmas Market held in the entrance of St George’s Hospital, raising £1,356.

Amy, Wayne & Wayne Jr opening advent calendar

For the fourth year running, Capital Gardens in Tooting invited our charity along to help us raise awareness of our vital work at their Christmas Customer Evening. We receive amazing support all year round from local Tooting businesses, and we’re incredibly grateful.

Our main event for Christmas is the annual party at the House! Every year, we organise a raffle with some amazing prizes that are donated by supporters. This time round, we opened our raffle up nationwide and raised over £5,000 for our families across the UK! Families old and new joined us for the raffle draw and a well-needed catch up over mince pies and festive drinks at the House last Tuesday.

Despite all of these wonderful things that we are truly grateful for, our Charity still needs your help. Christmas is about traditions – from laying stockings under the chimney, to putting cookies out for Santa. But when your child’s in hospital far from home, the season can feel a lot less festive.

This December, hundreds of families need somewhere to stay close to their sick child, every night. And keeping families together at Christmas is the most important tradition of all.

In our Christmas video this year, we spoke to four families who spent Christmas at a Ronald McDonald House while their child was in hospital. They revealed how the House helped them make Christmas special for their child and their siblings. 

You can watch the video below and donate on our website.

You can find out more about Ronald McDonald House Tooting on their website and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Ronald McDonald House


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