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Movie time once again for the youngest patients

Sunday, June 20, 2021

At long last we’re getting back to the cinema – and that includes some patients at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, who are lucky enough to have their own big screen.

This week they have been swapping their beds for cinema seats, as the hospital’s MediCinema opened once again after Covid restrictions were eased.

Ready for action in the front seat was 9-year-old Riley Kells from Wishaw, who had a private screening with mum Louise and dad David.

Riley, who has spent the last few months in hospital, was really excited for the movie – Raya and The Last Dragon, which is set in the fantasy world of Kumandra, where humans and dragons lived together in harmony a long time ago. 

The screening, along with all paediatric screenings in the hospital’s MediCinema, was funded by Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.

Mum Louise said: ”This was such a special treat for us as a family. For a few hours at least we felt ‘normal;’ again. Because Riley has been in so long and we have been living on site too at Ronald McDonald House, there’s not been a chance to do normal family activities like this.

“Everyone has been missing going to the cinema, not least of which Riley, who loves the whole movie experience.

“We were blown away when we saw the MediCinema at first – it looks like a real cinema and is right here in the middle of the hospital. We were able to forget everything else for a few hours; it was lovely. Thanks to everyone involved for making Riley’s day.”

MediCinema is a UK charity which gives patients and their families a break from the ward and all the difficulties of being in hospital through the transformative power of cinema. This is done by building, installing and running cinemas in places of care. The cinemas are specifically designed to comfortably accommodate wheelchairs and hospital beds whilst maintaining a real and immersive cinema experience away from the wards for patients and their families.

The cinema can seat up to 46 and can accommodate four beds eight wheelchairs. It firstly opened in 2007 at the former Yorkhill hospital and a new one was incorporated into the design of the new Royal Hospital for Children.

Sheila Hay Pacifico runs the MediCinema in the Royal Hospital for Children.

Sheila said: “We are all over the moon to be back, doing what we do best, entertaining our patients. We’ve been closed most of the time during the pandemic – open for just a couple of weeks in December. We are now open again, for paediatric private family screenings at the moment. We hope to open for larger socially distanced and adult screenings in the coming weeks.

“Seeing Riley’s face makes it all worthwhile and reminds me just how much I love my job. It’s great to be back!”

Kirsten Watson, CEO, Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity said: “We are proud to fund this much-loved service at the children’s hospital which provides a welcomed distraction and a sense of normality for families during their hospital stay. Being in hospital during the pandemic has been particularly difficult for young patients, so we are delighted that children like Riley are now able to enjoy the excitement and magic of a trip to the MediCinema once again.”

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Last Updated: 20 June 2021