A woman has launched a Christmas toy appeal for a children’s hospice in memory of her godson.

Tarnya Stern, 44, was inspired to start the appeal after her godson TJ, who was cared for by staff at Keech Children’s Hospice, died 12 years ago at the age of five.

For the past three years, Mrs Stern has supported the hospice, which cares for terminally ill children and teens, by donating presents collected at Carl Irwin Chiropractors in Edgware Way, where she is manager.

The mother-of-twofrom Hatfield, hopes to “put a smile back on the children’s faces” and make this year’s appeal the most successful yet.

She said: “It’s not until you have been to one of these hospices that you realise how badly they need help and donations.

“People think these places are dreary and depressing, but Keech Hospice is the complete opposite. The staff are dedicated and make life as fun as possible. They do brilliant work.”

Patients are encouraged to donate a toy worth ten pounds and in return they get a voucher for 10 pounds off future treatment. The offer also extends to new patients who have yet to visit the clinic.

Tarnya said the team and the patients at Carl Irwin have been very supportive and have helped to make the appeal a success every year.

She said: “People have been coming to us for years and they do remember the appeal each year.

"The support is great. People have busy lives, but they all really make an effort to choose and buy a present.”

This year, Mrs Stern is looking for presents suitable for children aged five to 15, particularly musical toys, books, vouchers, puzzles, or sensory toys. However, they cannot accept soft toys as they can pose an infection risk.

Staff will be collecting toys at the chiropractors all next week from Monday.

(from Monday December 14 - 19.) On December 22, the team from Carl Irwin will deliver the toys to the hospice in person.

Banita Mistry, regional fundraiser for the charity, said: “Thank you to Tarnya Stern and all the staff at Carl Irwin & Associates, for supporting Keech Hospice Care, through their generous donation of toys for the children here at the hospice.

“Our work is about helping children and adults to live pain and symptom free, to spend time with their family and friends, to understand what is happening to them, and to stay out of hospital. To make the very most of the time they left.

“Thanks to the staff at Carl Irwin and Associates, people's generous donations of toys will help us provide the services we do here at Keech Hospice Care and make the very most of the time our children here at the hospice have left."