The Lord Mayor of Oxford has lended a helping hand to a charity in Oxford as they kicked off the festive season.

Ronald McDonald House Oxford, which serves Oxford Children’s Hospital, was visited by Councillor Lubna Arshad.

It was part of the charities 'Decorate for December' event, and included decorating the Christmas tree.

It was one of 14 similar events at Ronald McDonald Houses spread across the UK that provide free accommodation for the families of children in hospital.

John Plumer, house manager at Ronald McDonald House Oxford, said: "The idea is to create excitement among families, staff, volunteers, and supporters and we invite local politicians and dignitaries to show them just how special our Charity is.

"It’s about allowing our families to take part in some of the traditions they’d ordinarily be doing at home, such as decorating the tree, which helps to bring some much-needed cheer and merriment.

"Our House becomes extra special at this time of year, when children are at the centre of everything and being close to family is more important than ever."

They offer more than just a place to sleep, providing kitchens, laundry facilities, and communal spaces where families can maintain some normality during a difficult period.

The houses save each family an average of £1,240 in out-of-pocket accommodation expenses.

Lord Mayor Councillor Lubna Arshad said: "It was my absolute pleasure to visit Ronald McDonald House Oxford and see first-hand just how vital their work is.

"To join staff and families to help place baubles on the tree was really special.

“I’m delighted to have had a tour of the house, to gain a greater understanding of the warmth and passion that goes into making it a real home away from home."

The house at Oxford Children’s Hospital opened in May 2020 after years of planning, fundraising, and building.

It is located just a few moments from John Radcliffe Hospital and it was home to 742 families last year.

The 'Decorate for December' events also include festive treats, Christmas crafts for children, and musical entertainment.

Alongside Councillor Arshad, Barbara Coyne, local independent councillor for Headington Hill & Northway Ward was in attendance, as well as the Sheriff of Oxford, Councillor Mark Lygo.

To support Ronald McDonald House Charities UK or for more information, visit:

Mr Plumer added: "We had a fantastic afternoon decorating our Christmas tree.

"We’re hugely grateful to all the VIPs who took time out of their busy schedules to help us bring some Christmas sparkle to the House.

"The fact they’ve pledged their ongoing support for our vital cause means so much to my colleagues and me, and to the families we support."