Giant octopus appears at Sick Kids hospital ahead of relocation to Little France

A giant octopus has taken up residence at Edinburgh’s Sick Kids Hospital in time for the hospital to relocate to its new purpose built home at Little France.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 4:41 pm
Updated Friday, 19th March 2021, 4:41 pm

Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC) has partnered with NHS Lothian to install the inflatable octopus at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children to create excitement about the move to the new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and to reassure children, young people and families that this is a positive step for the city.

The inflatable tentacles will appear from different windows of the hospital from Friday March 19 to Monday March 22, ahead of the move.

It is hoped the extraordinary sight will bring laughter to children and young people preparing to be transferred and ease any anxieties.

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The super-sized squid, known by the children at the hospital as ‘Olly’, is showing no sign of relocating but fortunately, the brand new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP) at Little France will open on Tuesday March 23, providing a spotless, octopus-free home for children and families from Edinburgh and beyond.

Fiona Mitchell, service director, women’s and children’s Services at NHS Lothian said: “We don’t know where Olly came from but he’s extremely friendly and certainly seems to have made himself at home here at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

“We suspect he sensed just how much love, care and memories this building holds, got all warm and cosy and couldn’t bring himself to leave.

“Unfortunately, with eight legs to navigate around, he takes up a quite a lot of space. Luckily for us, we have the new state-of-the-art hospital just down the road at Little France, so we’re getting ready to move there instead.”

The inflatable tentacles will appear from different windows of the hospital from Friday March 19 to Monday March 22, ahead of the move.

Regular visitor to the hospital, 11-year-old Chloe said: “It’s been really lovely to have Olly’s company while staying at the Sick Kids, but I’ve heard the new hospital has a flying dragon, a bagpipe playing dog and a snoring giant, so I’m very excited to meet them. I can’t wait!”

Roslyn Neely, CEO of ECHC, said: “Olly has obviously heard about the tremendous care that the hospital provides and all the fun and distraction provided by our charity.

“However, we will soon have to bid him farewell as the time comes for us to move to our new home at the RHCYP. No child or young person wants to be in hospital, but for those who have to visit the new building, NHS Lothian and ECHC will be there to care for and support them to make their time there as positive as possible.

“For now, we’ll be leaving the wonderful Sick Kids hospital in Olly’s eight capable hands.”

The new Sick Kids hospital will open at Little France on Tuesday March 23

The new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People will fully open on Tuesday.

From this date, the remaining children’s services presently located at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Sciennes, including A&E, will move to the new hospital located next to the Royal Infirmary at Little France.

From 8am on Tuesday March 23, all patients and any child or young person requiring access to A&E, must go to the new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People at Little France.

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