THEY make life in hospital more bearable for dozens of young patients, and now the Play Team at York Hospital has been nominated for a Community Pride award by one grateful family.

The team organises daily play and art activities on the children's ward, and helps children through their treatments, They have been put forward for the Health Service Hero award by Ruth Thompson and her nine-year-old daughter Georgina.

Georgina said: "They play team make hospital much better as they play with me and help me do crafts. I especially like them to come with me when I have blood tests and other tests so that they can do fun things with me so that I don't notice what the doctors are trying to do. The hospital wouldn't be the same without them."

Georgina was born with congenital CMV - a virus that caused her to have a stroke and has left her with severely restricted eyesight, epilepsy and learning difficulties.

She has spent weeks hospital for routine tests and complicated procedures including brain surgery, and the Play Team's help has been invaluable, according to mum Ruth.

As well as the daily activities on the ward, the play workers help Georgina and other young patients get through difficult treatments by distracting them with games while doctors take blood or run tests. Parents like Ruth also benefit from their expertise as play workers will help translate medical information for parents, even going to appointments with doctors to help families understand what is going on.

The team is made up for six nursery nurses and hospital play specialists - Rosie Botterill, Kerry Halliday, Rachel Wilson, Lynda Robson, Gill Adams and Anthea Dowling -many of whom have stayed in the job for more than 10 years.

The team's Rosie Botterill said: "This job is not easy, but it is really rewarding to work with the children over a long time, and to know a procedure has worked because we have helped distract the patient."

The team were thrilled with their nomination, she added: "It's fantastic, really lovely to hear about."

- Do you know a Health Service Hero? Nominations for the award are open until July 18, and judges are keen to hear about any unsung heroes of the health service in York who deserve praise for their hard work.

For more information on the Community Pride awards, sponsored by Benenden Health, or to make a nomination go to

Nominations can also be sent to Paula Homer, PA to the editor, The Press, 76-86 Wa lmgate, York YO1 9YN before Friday, July 18, with details including a supporting statement of no more than two sides of A4 with each nomination. You may also include a picture, which unfortunately we will be unable to return.