Donation of sensory lights helps babies and children at Barrow hospital
When little Daniel Beardsworth became ill and needed treatment at Furness General Hospital (FGH), his parents and grandfather could see that sensory lights made a huge difference to his recovery.
Tony Thackrah, Daniel’s grandfather and a ‘Mark Mason’, saw the difference that the sensory lights made and decided to instigate the donation of two sets of fibre-optic lights to help other babies and young hospital patients in Barrow.
Anna Beardsworth from Roose, Daniel’s mum, said it had been a frightening experience when he was in hospital but the sensory lights had helped the whole family to relax. Daniel’s dad, Andrew Beardsworth and his sisters Emily, 6, and Olivia, 3, also felt the benefit of the calming lights.
Tony and fellow Mark Masons donated two sets of sensory lights worth more than £1,000 to staff on the Children’s Ward on Monday, June 17.
Lorraine Foster, a Hospital Play Specialist for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), brought fibre-optic light strands to Daniel’s bed when he was recovering.
Anna, a Clinical Support Worker in Ophthalmology at FGH, said: “It was scary when Daniel was ill.
“To see your child not being able to breathe is the most awful thing.
“The staff helped him with his breathing. They were amazing.”
Daniel is eight months old and he became poorly at seven weeks with bronchiolitis (a respiratory virus). He needed specialist one-to-one care in the High Dependency Unit (HDU) at Furness General.
Anna said: “The nursing staff were absolutely brilliant in HDU. That’s where we met Lorraine. There was nothing much to do on HDU so Lorraine went to find some fibreoptic lights.
“She draped them around Daniel’s cot and he loved them. It was good for us too. It gave us something to touch and feel – something to show Daniel and distract him from his illness.
"After a few days we came home. He’s had to go back a couple of times because he was wheezy but on the whole he’s very well now.”
Tony, a retired Heysham Power Stations instructor and the Worshipful Master of Prince Setanta Mark Master Masons in Poulton le Fylde, said: “My wife and I were in France when it happened.
“Daniel was very, very poorly. The staff were just amazing.
“I’m glad that the lights we’ve donated will help many children, including children with sensory impairment.
“When I heard that the Children’s Ward was short of these lights, I wanted to help.”
Lorraine, who has worked for the Trust for 20 years, said: “It’s just fantastic that Tony and his friends have donated the lights.
“They’re really kind. The lights will make such a difference to children and babies on the ward.
“The lights are 100 per cent safe for them to play with. It’s nice to know that more children will be able to use them.
“We recently looked after a child with limited sight but he could see the fibre-optic lights. He loved picking them up and looking at them. The colours are continually changing so it’s very stimulating for children.
“It’s wonderful for them to have that sensory experience. The lights are also great for children with learning disabilities. They’re comforting for them. We can take the lights to wherever the child is in the hospital as they are portable. We would love to have more of this type of sensory equipment.”
Giles Berkley from Cleveleys, Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Mark Master Masons and his wife Sandra, also attended the presentation at FGH.
Giles said: “We are delighted and proud to make this donation as a small thank you for all the wonderful work that has been done for Daniel and his family.
“It’s a mark of esteem for the hard work of the staff at the hospital and a personal thank you for helping the grandson of one of our fraternity.”