Hospitals handed out hundreds of presents during the Christmas period to spread cheer to their patients.

West Hertfordshire NHS Hospital Trust hospitals at Watford, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans, consider their Christmas appeal to be an “outstanding success” after handing out 776 presents.

The annual ‘Raise a Smile’ appeal consists of collecting gift donations from businesses and individuals, so that Santa and a team of elves can then hand out presents to every patient in every ward.

Santa also toured Watford General Hospital on Christmas Eve to give gifts to children and staff in the A&E department.

Many toys were also left over, which the hospitals intend to use as birthday presents on the children’s wards throughout this year.

David Head, the Raise a Smile appeal organiser this year, added “We are so grateful for Mr Clause’s help, it really made a difference.

“Even more importantly though, we had support from so many local businesses and members of the public that we easily smashed our target of 1,000 presents”

Raise a Smile will be back in 2020.