A SCORE of Santa Clauses have walked through York centre today to help make patients’ stays at York Hospital more comfortable and relaxed.

The Friends of York Hospitals (FOYH) organised its first ‘Santa stroll’ this morning, with the Father Christmases carrying buckets to collect money for the Friends.

Led by a piper, they set off from York Railway Station and took a route via Lendal Bridge, St Helen’s Square and Stonegate to the Minster before returning along the same route.

Friends spokeswoman Stephanie Neale said its140 volunteers boosted the morale of patients by singing with them, manning a mobile newspaper and library trolley, providing refreshments and guiding people through the hospital.

It also helped provide ‘night owl’ sleep packs to reduce the noise on busy wards, non-contact thermometers reduce infection and refurbishments to waiting areas.

Stephanie said the Friends of York Hospitals established in 1953 and had recently contributed funds to the Dementia Appeal, fingertip pulse oxymeters, a changing places toilet and an A&E refurbishment.

"If anyone would like further information on volunteering or making a donation they can contact Andy.white@foyh.org.uk tel: 01904 726762 or go to the website at www.foyh.org.uk," she added.