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Big-hearted Ayrshire nurse auctions off unique wooden Christmas trees

A big-hearted specialist nurse at Biggart Hospita l in Prestwick is spreading Christmas cheer by fundraising for patients and staff.

Nick Bryden, who is a local Parkinson’s nurse specialist, makes wooden Christmas trees which people can make a donation towards if they want to own one.

And Nick hopes his hobby can turn a handsome penny and benefit those connected to the hospital.

He said: “I was sent a picture by a friend in November 2020 suggesting I should make a couple of trees.

“The main reason I make wood products is as a stress reliever as I’m sure you can appreciate nursing is a phenomenally-rewarding job but it is also very stressful at times. Wood working helps to get your mind on to something else.”

Rather than selling them, Nick asks people to gift what they think a tree is worth.

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He said: “I then use this money to buy treats and other items for mostly the patients at the Biggart Hospital but also sometimes the staff.

“Covid has been hard on patients sometimes not being able to see their family.

“All the Biggart staff from porters, admin, nurses, doctors, cleaners, allied health professionals and many more have done their best to support patients but also each other, going way beyond what is expected.

“If I can bring a smile to the face of a patient with something as simple as a chocolate bar or a bottle of shampoo then that’s enough.”

Noel Stafford's excellent effort sure makes Scotland bonnie
Noel Stafford’s excellent effort sure makes Scotland bonnie

In the last year, Nick has spent, with the help of some colleagues, £1,090 on treats such as chocolate, sweets and toiletries for patients in addition to what they already receive.

He went on: “Some of the money has also been spent on treats for staff who have worked tirelessly normally, but during Covid they have gone above and beyond for the hospital.

This one was created by Neil Sinclair and will be auctioned off as part of a set of two
This one was created by Neil Sinclair and will be auctioned off as part of a set of two

“Having worked on the ward for three months earlier this year, after 11 years away, I saw first hand the amazing dedication of all staff.”

Nick does not take any expenses for the equipment needed to produce the trees and all the money gifted is spent to support the Biggart Hospital patients or staff.

Neil Sinclair's creation is part of a set of two that will go under the hammer
Neil Sinclair’s creation is part of a set of two that will go under the hammer

Nick, 49, said: “Last year I made between 60 and 70 trees, this year so far about 90 with lots more to go. So far people have gifted £982, which I am overwhelmed with their generosity.”

Now he’s enlisted the help of four local artists – Ken O’Hara, Katy Storm, Neil Sinclair and Noel Stafford – to paint his trees in their own style.

Ken O'Hara's eye-catching creation
Ken O’Hara’s eye-catching creation

Nick explained: “They have jumped at this opportunity. Hopefully they will all be completed very soon.”

Nick would like to thank his parents Lilian and Andy, and also his friend Alison McEwan, for their help and assistance.

Katy Storm's 3ft creation features Scots comedy legend Billy Connolly
Katy Storm’s 3ft creation features Scots comedy legend Billy Connolly

Ward manager Wilma Steele said: “The team at Biggart Hospital are so grateful for the generosity of Nick and all those who have purchased a tree.

“The treats that he donated last year were an amazing way to raise spirits over the festive period and beyond. We are delighted he has chosen to do it again.”

If you would like to bid for one of the trees featured, email your bid to [email protected]

The items up for auction are as follows: The Katy Storm, The Ken O’Hara, The Neil Sinclair 1&2 (available as one auction lot) and The Noel Stafford. Katy’s creation features Scots comedy legend Billy Connolly.

Bidders must include the name of their preferred auction item(s), their contact details, including email and telephone number, and their total bid(s).

The deadline for entries will be Wednesday, December 15 at 12noon. The highest bids will be forwarded to Nick so he can get the trees to their recipients.

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