Sportsman and BBC Strictly Come Dancing Star Michael Vaughan joined representatives from The Children’s Hospital Charity and East Midlands Trains to carry out a special train naming ceremony in honour of the Sheffield-based charity.
The naming of East Midlands Trains’ Meridian train 222 004 as ‘Children’s Hospital Sheffield’, signifies a successful partnership between the train operator and The Children’s Hospital Charity. East Midlands Trains’ staff at Sheffield station have been supporting the charity through fund-raising and auctions, as well as displaying charity promotional materials throughout the station.
Michael Vaughan, who was given help to name the train by former hospital patient and cricket fan Owen Wilkinson, said: “I think it’s fantastic that East Midlands Trains have recognised the amazing work that goes on at The Children’s Hospital by naming one of their trains after it.
“Many people aren’t aware that there are only four dedicated children’s hospitals in the country and we are lucky enough to have one here in Sheffield. You only need to read Owen’s story to see what an extraordinary place it is.”
Owen, aged 10 from Barnsley, had his life saved by surgeons at The Children’s Hospital when he had a fall at school and needed emergency surgery for a severe bleed on the brain. Further information and background on Owen is provided below.
Tim Sayer, Engineering Director for East Midlands Trains, said: “The Children’s Hospital in Sheffield really means a lot to East Midlands Trains and we are proud to be playing our part in supporting the hospital’s charity. It’s great to be able to recognise The Children’s Hospital in this way and we hope that it will help to raise awareness of the vital work carried out at the hospital.
“This is the third train naming we have carried out at Sheffield which is a key city on our network. As well as The Children’s Hospital, the Master Cutler and the Sheffield Star also have one of our trains named after them, and we hope this all helps to play its part in keeping Sheffield on the map.”
Rebecca Staden, senior fundraiser at The Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “We want to say a huge thank you to East Midlands Trains for this special naming honour and for their continued support for our Make it Better appeal.
“It is very fitting that our hospital, which treats children from all over the country, will now be the name of a train that travels across the country. It’s a fantastic way to raise the profile of the hospital and our appeal.”
The charity’s Make it Better Appeal is aiming to generate £20m towards a £40m development at The Children’s Hospital. Some existing wards will be replaced and more single rooms will be created to give families space, privacy and dignity. Other planned enhancements include a special play tower, gardens, specialist medical equipment and artwork.
Once named, the train will travel regularly on East Midlands Trains services between Sheffield, Derby, Leicester and London and will be seen by thousands of people each day, helping to raise the profile of The Children’s Hospital in Sheffield.