Two festive alpacas brought Christmas cheer to the patients and staff of St Wilfrid’s Hospice.
Bruce and Peta Ives, who run Dunreyth Alpaca’s in Funtington, have taken their animals to nursing, care and residential homes over the festive period for the last 12 years.
After two St Wilfrid’s nurses helped organise the visit, Peta brought round the reindeer-dressed alpacas Baron and Jupiter to the delight of the patients.
Peta, a former nurse, explained it was the first year they had visited a hospice at Christmas and that they received a ‘phenomenal reception’.
She said: “They absolutely love it, I’m not sure who loves it more, the staff or the patients.
“We walked into the day room and it was chock-a-block.
“They must have invited all their friends, their children, everyone from two years up to 90 so it was amazing.”
Bruce, who spent 25 years in the navy and Peta bought their first two alpacas in 2006 with their nursing redundancy pay and now have 32 at their farm.
Dureyth Alpacas offer alpaca walks, breeding as well as garments from alpaca wool.
Peta said the alpacas enjoyed socializing with people at the hospice in Donnington and seemed to tune in with their needs.
She said: “They were really well behaved and they move in really close to people’s faces so they can see them and be stroked, its almost like they’re attuned to it.”
Denise Penn, a staff nurse from Bognor Regis, said the visit ‘brought a great deal of happiness to the hospice’.
She said: “The patients loved the experience which was great for the staff to see.”
Joe Moody, a staff nurse at St Wilfrid’s, said it was great for patients to experience something different at the hospice.
He said: “I hope we are able to get them back next Christmas.”
St Wilfrid’s is currently building a brand new hospice in Bosham.
It is exactly a year since the charity launched Dreambuilding – the public fundraising bid for the £15.5m it needs, and construction of the new hospice is due to start in January.
For details on how to donate to St Wilfrid’s Hospice visit https://stwh.co.uk