The family of a courageous Wearside boy who died after a battle with cancer kept his memory alive with a stunning presents collection this Christmas.
Kieran Anderson, eight, from Roker, Sunderland, died almost 10 years ago after three-and-a-half-years battling neuroblastoma.
Every Christmas since his death, Kieran’s mum, Victoria Peebles, and other family members and friends have arranged a collection, mainly of selection boxes and sweets.
They are then taken into the children’s wards of the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI), in Newcastle, where the youngster was treated, and the Sunderland Royal Hospital.
This year, a record number of items were donated, with over 900 being handed in.
As there were so many, Victoria decided to share them out among a number of hospitals, with South Tyneside District Hospital, the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Gateshead, and Grace House, in Sunderland, also benefitting.
If any of these items helped to bring a smile to the face of someone in hospital, it will have been worth itVictoria Peebles
They were also handed to Wearside Women In Need, and the hostel Centrepoint, in Sunderland.
The response stunned Victoria and the family, including Kieran’s siblings Natasha 21, Darren, 20. Stephanie, nine, Errin, eight, and Jimmy, six.
Victoria said: “Every year, my dad dresses as Santa and my younger children dress up to take the collection into the hospitals.
“We do this every Christmas, but decided to try to make it bigger this year as it will be 10 years on from his death in March, and he would have turned 18 in January.
“We received over 900 donations, which was overwhelming.
“The response was crazy, and absolutely brilliant for us.
“Last year, we had about 180 donations, and that was the most we’d ever had.
“I’d have been delighted with 300 donations, so to get as many as we did was incredible.”
Victoria added: “It’s the worst possible time for anyone to be in hospital, let alone a child.
“If any of these items helped to bring a smile to the face of someone in hospital, it will have been worth it.
“We do it as a way of saying thank you to those who treated Kieran, and to keep his memory alive.
“We’re always thinking of him.”