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Ice Creams All Round

Local ice cream van holder Donna MacCrossen, surprised our patients with free ice creams during last week’s heat wave.

Patients indulged in the traditional British treat thanks to kind hearted Donna, who has been parking up her ice cream van at the hospice’s Malthouse Road site,  to dish out free ice creams for patients staying at the hospice.

Donna, from Ifield, has owned her ice cream van for nine years and started supporting St Catherine’s after her Dad, and a close friend, were cared for by the friendly team. She said: “When my Dad was being cared for at the hospice, I thought it was a lovely place. Most people in Crawley have relatives, friends or at least know someone who has been cared for by St Catherine’s, and any one of us could end up needing their support in future, so I thought, what can I do to help? The hospice is really close to mine and my family’s heart. My husband recently ran a marathon for them and raised an incredible £3,800. That’s when I came up with the idea of bringing the ice cream van to the hospice. I thought, I have the ice cream van, I could pull up outside and offer ice creams to patients.”

Each time Donna arrives at the hospice, nurses go round the wards and Day Hospice collecting patients’ ice cream orders, before heading to the ice cream van armed with orders for Donna. “Giving out ice creams to patients is such a nice feeling,” said Donna. “I give out anywhere between six and 20 ice creams on a visit and happily serve up whatever patients’ fancy. Sometimes they just fancy a simple ice lolly, sometimes it’s a Magnum or the traditional Mr Whippy with a flake, other times I give out Screwballs, which are little ice cream tubs that nurses can feed to patients. I’ll definitely be giving out a few more freebies before the end of the summer!”

Penny Jones, Director of Care Services at St Catherine’s said: “We are so grateful to Donna for supporting us in this way – there’s always a buzz of excitement every time we hear the familiar tune of Donna’s ice cream van! These treats are really enjoyed by our patients and can also help to alleviate physical symptoms, such as dry mouths, which patients often experience. From all of us at St Catherine’s we would like to thank Donna for this really thoughtful gesture.”

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