Hospitalised five year-old girl delighted with Merton mayor’s auction panda for Christmas

The mayor of Merton helped to brighten the Christmas and New Year of a hospitalised five year-old girl after Centre Court Shopping Centre staff and businesses clubbed together to win a social media auction.

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Emma Gibbins, five, in hospital with Serena the panda. 

Generous businesses based in Wimbledon’s Centre Court Shopping Centre donated £100 to win the auction hosted by Merton Police’s Facebook page to raise money for the mayor of Merton’s charities the Avanti Club and Age UK Merton.

The panda, complete with its own Christmas cracker and scarf, was donated to the mayor of Merton Councillor Brenda Fraser, who put it up for auction for the good causes.

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From left: Centre Court staff and auction winners Emily Palmer and Kelly Gibbins,  Mark Roberts of Merton Police and the mayor of Merton Councillor Brenda Fraser.

Five year-old Emma Gibbins, who spent Christmas in Kings College Hospital with pneumonia, was delighted to have been given the panda by her aunt Kelly Gibbins who works at Centre Court.

The panda was named Serena by Emma, who left hospital on New Year’s Day.

The mayor of Merton Councillor Brenda Fraser said: “I am delighted the panda has brought so much joy to a little girl who was in hospital for Christmas. The money raised will go towards helping two fantastic charities continue their vital work for people in Merton.”

Ms Gibbins said: “We at Centre Court were delighted that we raised enough to win the Merton Police and mayor of Merton’s panda. It made a very unwell girl happy on Christmas Day when she met and named her Serena.”