SANTA paid a surprise visit to patients at Coffs Harbour Base Hospital with his Harvey Norman photography team in tow.
The visit was organised by the Harvey Norman staff social club, who elected to use their funds to purchase gifts for hospital patients.
One of those who received a bedside visit from Santa was nine-year-old Renee Rovere, of Nana Glen, who was recovering from a bike-riding injury. Santa had his work cut out for him in finding out what Christmas present Renee wanted to receive. ‘I don't know' was her response to his question. “Do you want that in blue, red, or green,” answered Santa. Seeing her puzzled face, he added, ‘Your ‘I don't know' – what colour do you want it?”
Just before Tayla Vines, 13, of Woolgoolga. was wheeled into theatre for a wrist operation, she found time for a quick photo with Santa on his hospital rounds and to say, ‘The staff here are great'.
Santa gave out colouring-in sets to all the young patients in the children's ward, and lollies when the nurses allowed him, before visiting about 60 adult patients in other wards with shortbread and chocolate wafers.
Lots of faces were brightened by Santa's visit and many requested photos with him.
The portraits were delivered later the same day by the Harvey Norman staff.
“This time of year is all about sales and people rushing around, but we thought what about the people in hospital,” Harvey Norman Coffs Harbour computer franchisee Liz Jones said.
“Nurses told us there was a great buzz in the hospital that afternoon, with patients telling their visitors Santa had been to see them.
“It can be monotonous in hospital and this broke up their day a bit,” Ms Jones said.
The social club plan to interrupt the store Santa's busy schedule next year to repeat the exercise.