Christmas lights switch-on returns to DGRI after three years

A CHRISTMAS lights switch-on event has returned at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary after a three year absence – bringing cheer to staff and visitors.

Five-year-old Naomi True pushed the button to light up the giant tree in front of the hospital on Friday afternoon, having been invited due to regular visits to the hospital as a patient in the Children’s Ward.

Naomi’s mum Michelle Dunn said: “Naomi was born with a pancreatic insufficiency, so ever since she was just under a year old she’s been getting regular blood transfusions and platelet transfusions.
“And then she was diagnosed with leukemia. She went through that and then had a stem cell transplant last year. So she’s coming out the end of that now.
“Basically, they saved my daughter’s life. The hospital is an amazing place, and the staff are lovely here. She’s made to feel at home and she doesn’t dread coming to the hospital. She finds it’s her second home.”
“To be asked to switch on the lights really was an honour.”

The event on Friday was introduced by Linda Williamson, General Manager for Women, Children and Sexual Health, and saw staff and visitors assemble at the main doors of the hospital to see the switch-on.

Linda said: “Today is very special, as it’s the day we officially mark the beginning of the Christmas season by lighting this wonderful tree. It is even more exciting this year as it is three whole years, believe it or not, since we’ve been able to stand here, meet together and watch the switching on of the tree lights.”

Linda then introduced Spiritual Care Lead Nathan Mesnikoff who addressed the audience.

Nathan said: “Seeing trees lit up around this time of year is one of the real joys of the holidays for me, and it also reminds me that we’re just under three weeks from the shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice.
“And as we how look at how early it gets dark these days, you can see why traditions across the northern hemisphere have always incorporated candles, fires, and in this case LEDs.
“But the lights, I hope, will also remind us that winter as a physical season but also as an emotional season doesn’t last forever, and that in the middle of the darkness we can and should shed as much brightness and share as much warmth as we can between each other, and to just recognise that the light also is not only here but also is within us and we need to share that when we can.”

Linda then introduced Naomi and mum Michelle, inviting them to approach the button.

Staff and visitors then loudly joined the countdown, before Naomi pushed the button and the tree was bathed in sparkling lights, adding some brightness and cheer to the shortest days of the year.

Clinical Manager for Women, Children and Sexual Health Services Bill Irving then presented Naomi with a gift in appreciation.

Linda Williamson drew the event to a close, and addressing all those who had attended said: “I hope that everyone has a very happy Christmas, and a peaceful, prosperous and joyful new year.”

Dumfries & Galloway News