Severn Trent Services Grinch will stick to his New Year’s resolution

Tommy-Lee Baker, a repair and maintenance operative at Severn Trent Services who lives in Doncaster, calls himself a Grinch. But his significant charitable actions say otherwise, as does his 2024 commitment to Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

An impromptu act of charity

Last December, Tommy was chatting to his best friend, Harry. The merry tunes were blaring out of the car radio, and they were feeling festive despite how disorganised they were for Christmas. The conversation quickly turned into an idea to raise funds for a children’s hospital that is important to Tommy’s family.

He explains:

“I haven’t got children yet myself, but in 2013, my 12-year-old cousin Liam was a patient at Sheffield Children’s Hospital receiving cancer treatment. He very sadly passed away.

“I mentioned to Harry that it would be good to donate to a charity at Christmas, and obviously, that hospital means something to me.

“We didn’t have time to do a big fundraising event or anything like that. But I knew there were enough days left for us to ask people to donate some money to make Christmas a bit better for children who can’t be at home.

“So we quickly set up a GoFundMe page where Harry and I donated £150 each to get things going. Then, we promoted it on social media, and my manager at Severn Trent Services shared it with the team. And within days, we’d raised £1,100!”

A last-minute dash to the shops

Tommy and Harry sought advice from The Children’s Hospital Charity about what to do with the money.

He said:

“We headed out to the shops to buy various Christmas presents for all ages, from babies to teenagers. The gifts had to be brand-new because hospital patients are poorly and often vulnerable.

“During our conversations with the charity representative, Jane, she mentioned that children who have been hospitalised for a long time get to know the hospital staff very well. They suggested some gift ideas for these children. The rest of the gifts would be given to children who might unexpectedly end up in the hospital during the festive period for minor injuries or other reasons.

“While shopping, we convinced a store manager to give us £100 off a six-foot Pac-Man arcade machine when we explained what we were doing with it.”

When they got home from the shops, Tommy and Harry’s shopping spree resulted in a dining room packed to the rafters with presents. They filled three pallets and delivered them to The Children’s Hospital Charity hub building.

A 2024 commitment to more charity work

Jane Darby, Hub Fundraising Officer, sent a letter thanking Tommy and Harry for their donations and even challenged them to do more in 2024, which Tommy has pledged to do as one of his New Year’s resolutions.

She said:

“We are very grateful to Tommy and Harry – and their family, friends, and colleagues at Severn Trent Services – for helping to make things a little better for patients at Sheffield Children's Hospital over Christmas.

“The Pac-Man arcade machine has pride of place at the entrance to our teen room and has proved a big hit, so much so the room has seen an increase in its use!

“We were also super pleased when, on assembly, it became apparent it had adjustable height and was also perfect for wheelchair users.

“I’m so impressed with Tommy and Harry that I’ve suggested that they might want to support us again this Christmas. Or even raise money through events, challenges, and fundraising any time of the year!”

To donate £10, £30, or £50 to The Children’s Hospital Charity