A support worker has launched a campaign to bring some festive cheer to severely ill youngsters this Christmas.

Bethan Harvey, who is from Witham, has issued a public plea for donations which can be given to Children who will be staying in London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, on December 25.

Bethan, 24, is asking for presents to be donated, ranging from books and DVDs to toys and games, which she can then deliver to the youngsters in person.

Her campaign has been launched on the back of her own personal experience with Great Ormond Street Hospital, which helped offer care to her throughout much of her childhood.

Bethan was first referred to the hospital when she was just three months old after she was diagnosed with microtia, a congenial birth defect resulting in missing or partially formed ears.

She also suffered with hemifacial hicrosomia, which results in the underdevelopment of the face, jaw and one side of the body.

Bethan underwent numerous operations at Great Ormond Street to correct the defects and wasn’t discharged from its care until her 21st birthday.

Having had to overcome mindless bullying throughout her childhood, she has since made it her mission to raise awareness about the hospital and provide help in whatever way she can.

Bethan said: “Over the years Great Ormond Street has become like my second home and second family. The care, support and love given has been like no other and even now they hold a very special place in my heart and life.

“When I started college I decided I wanted to do something to help others as I was now in a better place away from the bullying and I wanted to do something to help someone else who may be living feeling like they too were alone in the world with a medical condition nobody had heard of.

“I began blogging about everything to do with my medical journey from operations, treatments, hospital visits and it just spiralled from there.”

Bethan has gone on to tackle a series of 5km walks and fun runs in an effort to fundraise for Great Ormond Street.

But she is now looking for donations of a different kind to help bring a smile to children under the hospital’s care.

She said: “This year I’d like to do something to give to the children that will be staying on Peter Pan ward which is where I stayed.

“I know they’re in the best possible hands and receiving the very best care, but I just cannot bear the thought of children being in hospital at Christmas while I’m fortunate enough to be at home with my family.

“I would like to get all of the children Christmas presents so they will know they’re not forgotten and they can still have a magical and happy Christmas despite being in hospital.”

Bethan posted an appeal for donations on Facebook and says she has been inundated with offers and ideas.

She added: “The generosity and support has been incredible, so much so my plan to take it up by myself on the train is fast going out the window.

“I already have a box full of gifts and a further bag in my car too, and still have offers for donations and help coming in.

“I’ve had a friend raffling off Usborne hampers to raise money, a stranger has donated £100 to buy presents and the manager of a Body Shop store is looking to hold a fundraising party.”

To make a donation, visit gf.me/u/wpf4bs.