Healthcare workers across East and West Sussex received Christmas letters of thanks this week – from a class of primary school children aged just 8 and 9 years old.
The letters arrived on Tuesday morning at three of the hospitals that help make up University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust: Worthing; the Royal Sussex County, in Brighton; and the Princess Royal in Haywards Heath.
They came from the class of Year 4 at St Mary’s Primary School, in Horsham, and were the children’s own idea when they were asked by their teacher, Jamie Ellis, who would they most like ‘to thank and give a good feeling to’ during a lesson about how to structure a letter.
Jamie, who is deputy head at the school and has been a teacher there for 8 years, said: “We were doing a lesson on letter writing, showing children the joy of writing a letter and the impact it can have on people receiving it.
“We show the children how different it is to text and email messages and ask them to think about what they would like to say, the letter’s purpose, and we asked them who would they like to write to, who would they like to feel good.
“One of the children said, ‘Let’s write thank you letters to the doctors and nurses.’ The group got together and then said they wanted to thank everyone who works in the hospitals – whether they be surgeons or cleaners – for all the work they do and continue to do. The letters are their take on it, it’s what they want to say and they wanted to send them to the three UHSussex Hospitals and also Redhill.”
The class has 29 8 and 9 year old boys and girls, but with 2 children absent through Covid, 27 letters were written, photo-copied and then sent out in first class post to the HR departments of the four hospitals.
Dr Maggie Davies is chief nurse at UHSussex and was delighted to receive the thank you’s on behalf of the Trust.
She said: “It was really, really lovely to receive these letters. Everyone is really touched by the messages of thanks that have come from such young children.
“It’s been a tough time, it continues to be a tough time, and when letters like these come through the door, from primary school children, it really does make every one of us feel proud and a little bit better, helps us all keep going. I really want to say thank you back to the children, thank you very, very much.”
The messages of thanks were all handwritten and unique to each child. Like from Layla, who is 8 years old: “I can’t believe your doing so well! Really hope you get a long break this Christmas to spend some time with your own friends and family. We’ll beat Covid next year!” Or from Rory, who is 9: “Thank you for all of your hard work helping all patients who need help from you. Keep going because we really need you. We really appreciate all of it.”
And this from Florrie, aged 9: “I want to say thank you for risking yourselfs to help others and perservering even though you must be really tired. Thank you for always being there and helping save lives. We really appreciate all of the hard work you do. Remember, keep going because this country really needs you!”
Teacher Jamie added: “They are a thoughtful bunch of children as individuals and as a group. Some of the content they came up with is really insightful. I am really proud of them all.”