17 August 2023

Bugfest activity session at the children’s hospital

Earlier this week, we were delighted to fund Bugfest coming into Southampton Children’s Hospital to show the patients a whole range of insects and creepy crawlies during an interactive activity session.

Jo Cutler, Play Leader, said: “This week we were thrilled to have Nick from Bugfest back at Southampton Children’s Hospital. This is the first big activity open to all patients in the children’s hospital since Covid-19, so thank you to Southampton Hospitals Charity for providing the funding for this experience.

We had children from across seven wards come to learn more about the insects and creepy crawlies, along with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hold many of them too which caused much delight!

There was much fascination across all of their faces, and it was the perfect activity to distract the children from being in hospital.”

Mum of three, Victoria Jenner, said: “My youngest, Nicholas, who’s eight months old and was born with Hirchsprungs Disease is on G4 ward. We’ve been staying in the Ronald McDonald House since early July, while he was receiving treatment and having surgeries.

It was great for Nicholas’ brother and sister to take in the show. They’ve been a little cooped up in the accommodation so when we told them about it, they were super excited. Our son, Matthew, has ADHD and when we told him about getting the chance to see a stick insect he just couldn’t wait.”

“It was a nice sized group for the children so it wasn’t too loud or overwhelming for them. They actually sat quietly and listened to the information, although my two refused to touch some of the insects. I ended up holding the tarantula for them to get a closer look. They did work up the bravery to hold a tarantula skin though.

We are very grateful to the charity for putting the show on for the children. With so much going on right now, to take an hour out like that made a world of difference and brought a little rainbow into their day.”

Mum, Lisa Bottley, speaks of how excited her daughter Frankie was at the opportunity to see the insects: “We had come to Southampton Children’s Hospital for an operation, and it was such a happy coincidence to meet Nick and all of the insects! She has wanted to be near or even hold a tarantula for ages.

She loved being that close to them all, and learning about them more from a real expert. It really took her mind off the operation, so thank you!”

Our thanks to Craig Hobbs Photography for taking the photos.

See more photos from the day!

About Bugfest

Bugfest is the largest entomological experience company in the UK, providing school visits, birthday parties, hospital and care home enrichment and youth group visits with our large range of exotic invertebrates from all around the world.

A Bugfest visit is exciting and dynamic, and involves everyone from beginning to end. Children are welcome to handle and learn about the friendly minibeasts, and adults are welcome to have a go at handling tarantulas and bird eaters.

The Bugfest experience shows just how important minibeasts are to the very survival of all other animal life on Earth, and helps break down fears and phobias around minibeasts in a caring and nurturing manner.

The hospital visits we provide are a welcome insertion to hospital life, and always bring a smile to the children’s faces, as well as the parents and staff too. For the Bugfest presenters, a hospital visit is a very humbling experience when we see the gratitude expressed by all those we visit.

Bugfest has been operating since 2008, and has grown into a national company with presenters in the north, North Wales, Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, London, and Sussex. We now have a new product: guided safaris. Nick, from Bugfest is not just an entomologist (awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Entomological Society last year) he is also a serious naturalist and presenter and has a wealth of knowledge to share.

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