There With You: Animal group donates iPads to Queen’s and King George hospitals

Members of Pippa's Army donating the iPads to King George Hospital. Picture: Gary O'Neill

Members of Pippa's Army donating the iPads to King George Hospital. Picture: Gary O'Neill - Credit: Gary O'Neill

Animal lovers have donated iPads to allow coronavirus patients to keep in touch with relatives.

Six tablets were given to King George Hospital, in Goodmayes, and nine to Queen’s Hospital, in Romford, after a fundraising drive by members of Pippa’s Army - an animal lost and found group - saw more than £5,400 collected for the cause.

Loraine O’Neill, one of the organisers, explained: “It’s to let people keep in touch with their families while they are in hospital.

“A lot of patients are elderly and don’t have smartphones.

“Keeping in touch with family is more important at a time like this. I have had a couple of friends who have had relatives in hospital, and not being able to see them is quite hard.”

She told of hearing stories of hospital staff using their own phones to let patients record video messages or speak to loved ones.

Loraine added that members of Pippa’s Army, which helps to reunite owners with missing pets in Havering and Thurrock, were inspired to raise money for tablets after seeing members of another animal group in Essex do something similar for their local hospitals.

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“We set up a Facebook group and a fundraising page, and we have raised £5,400,” Loraine said.

“The hospitals have got a budget to spend on extras, but it won’t stretch to technology like this.”

“The iPads will be configured so they can only work on the hospital WiFi, and we have had to get special covers that can be sanitised.”

Each one will be assigned a specific ward and asset number, and will need to be signed in and out by staff at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

And the tablets will be repurposed by the hospitals once the pandemic - and the need to keep patients separate from their loved ones - is over.

“Afterwards they will still be able to use them,” Loraine said. “Most will be going to the paediatric wards for children.”

The fundraising page is due to be closed soon, with whatever money remains used to either purchase further iPads for the hospitals or handed over to a similar fund.

To make a donation towards the appeal, visit