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An appeal to help support families at some of the hardest and most tragic times of their lives has struck a chord with many island families.

Joanna Graham, director at Campbell’s Service Station in Stornoway, has been learning the hard way just how difficult it can be to care for a loved one without exhausting your own energy.

Now she has decided to fundraise for comfortable, easily-cleaned reclining chairs which can be used to sleep beside the hospital bed of your loved one when they need you the most.

Launched only three days ago, the appeal at https://www.gofundme.com/f/comfortable-overnight-reclining-chairs has already topped £4,250 – more than enough to buy four chairs for relatives to stay beside the bed when they need to be at the hospital for long hours.

Launching her appeal, Joanna said: “Our family have been going through an experience where we didn't realise these facilities were not available at all.

“The nurses and staff have tried their best to help by using chairs put together and pillows, even a mattress on the floor which we are truly thankful for. 

“We have seen loved ones falling asleep in plastic chairs by their beds. When it comes to terminally-ill patients, you don't want to leave their side.

“We have also seen mothers or fathers with children in hospital having to share the same bed, which isn't always practical especially with a sick child who wants space.

“I would sit in a chair or on the floor all night if I had to, but I feel this should be made available to patients’ family in sometimes most tragic times.

“It has struck me on a personal level and I feel it would make these traumatic experiences that little bit easier.” 

Donors agree, with one saying: “This is a brilliant idea and none of us know when we may need this.”

Joanna says that chairs that can be used to sit comfortably for long periods of time, used as a recliner to sleep in and easily cleaned, can cost anything between £500 and £1,000. 

And, she adds: “Please think – if something happened with your family members and time wasn't guaranteed, you would want to spend as much time as possible with them.”

Picture shows one of the brands of recliner chair approved for use in hospitals in the UK (Croyde Medical).