THE Swindon Advertiser is joining forces with McDonald’s this weekend to help raise funds for the Great Western Hospital.

As part of our Making it Better campaign, we want to raise £20,000 to help improve the experience for children and families when they visit the Emergency Department at the GWH.

We will be touring all six McDonald’s restaurants in the town with our vintage bus and Alfie the Alligator will be on hand to meet the children.

We will also have collection buckets in all restaurants and hope to raise hundreds of pounds towards the worthy cause.

Editor Gary Lawrence said: “Often very young and sometimes frightened children are in the ED at the same time as adults, many of whom are suffering great stress and can be at their worst. “This can be upsetting for children and for their parents. “The hospital wants to build a separate area for children that is bright, friendly and comfortable. We want to raise £20,000 to decorate and equip the area so that it is welcoming and has toys and games to help youngsters feel at home and entertained. “We hope it will take some of the stress away from parents who have to spend a great deal of time in the department, often when they are tired and upset themselves. “We are halfway to hitting our target and with a bit of help from our readers and McDonald’s customers we hope to reach our goal by Christmas.” McDonald’s franchisee Paul Booth added: “Traditionally, on the last weekend of October, we have a fancy dress day for Halloween and we always support a different charity.

“It’s great because the first time we did it 10 years ago, we helped raise money to build the first play park at the Great Western Hospital, so we are delighted to be supporting them again. “We have come full circle and it is such a worthy cause. It fits nicely with me and it is great for business, which is all about giving back to the community.”

Staff will be in fancy dress during the day and customers are asked to give generously to the cause.”

The Adver vintage bus will be at the McDonald’s restaurant in Greenbridge at 10am, before making its way to Watchfield at 11am, the Orbital at 12pm, West Swindon at 1pm, the town centre at 2pm before finishing at the Great Western Way restaurant at 3pm. If you would like to donate, visit the Just Giving page at www.justgiving. com/GWH-ED-Appeal or text GWED50 with your amount to 70070. People can also claim gift aid at no extra cost.

Alternatively, donate by cheque, make a donation in person at the cashiers’ office on the ground floor, or email fundraising@

Cheques can be made out to Great Western Hospital and sent to Fundraising Manager, Fundraising Department, Trust HQ, Floor Two, Great Western Hospital, Marlborough Road, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN3 6BB.