01225 825691


Frome pupil dyes flowing locks red in gran’s memory

Frome teenager Tia Roach has dyed her long locks red in memory of her grandmother. The 13-year-old pupil at Frome Community College has raised £200 in sponsorship towards the Forever Friends campaign at Bath’s Royal United Hospital.

Her nan Sue Fitzsimmons died aged 63 of cancer on November 24, 2012.

Tia said: “I wanted to do something different to remember my nan, it took two hours to dye my hair and I was scared beforehand but I am pleased with it now.”

She had her hair dyed for free at Indulgence in Frome by hairdresser Emma Lapham last Saturday.

Read more

£17,500 tribute to the Royal United Hospital

Money totalling £35,000 raised in memory of Helen Straker was presented to Dorothy House Hospice and the The Forever Friends Appeal.

Mrs Straker, who died of cancer on September 7 aged 62, was the wife of Devizes estate agent and owner of the Bear Hotel, Gordon Straker.

Mrs Straker and her husband were prodigious fundraisers for Dorothy House and the RUH’s charitable fund after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2000.

The latest event, the Helen Straker Charity Gourmet Dinner at the Bear Hotel, raised £35,000 with the money split equally between Dorothy House and the RUH’s Buy a Brick for its new Cancer Care Centre.

Mrs Straker helped organise the dinner but sadly died before it was held on September 28.

The co-organisers Andrew Fleming, Nick Cordel and Ed Drewett helped Mr Straker make it a big success. It involved a gourmet dinner and an auction where the lots included a visit to a nuclear submarine in Scotland and a trip on the famed Orient Express.

Mr Straker said: “Helen would be staggered at the amount raised at the dinner. People who didn’t bid at the auction gave donations.”

“She always said she had done nothing in her life but she has done so much to help others.

“She always thought she was the wife of Gordon Straker and didn’t have an identity of her own, but I am the husband of Helen Straker.”

Mr Straker thought the amount raised by him and his wife is more than £50,000 over the years.

Jan Witt, donor care officer at the RUH’s Forever Friends Appeal, and Emily Knight, community fundraiser for Dorothy House, both said Mrs Straker was inspirational.

Mrs Witt said: “Helen has raised £25,000 for the new Cancer Care Centre at the Royal United Hospital.

“She has been a fantastic support to the Forever Friends Appeal.

“Unfortunately everyone knows someone affected by cancer and the new Cancer Centre should be built by 2017.

“We have raised just over £5.5million towards a target of £8.5million.”

Miss Knight added: “Helen did so much for Dorothy House and it’s amazing how much the dinner raised in her honour.

“It costs us £9,000 every day to run our services. We are so grateful.”

Picture © gazetteandherald.co.uk

Read more

CitySound Choir of Bath presents ‘The Sound of Christmas’

CitySoundChristmasA4The CitySound Choir of Bath, with special guests KES 16, are performing at St Michael’s Without Church, Broad Street, Bath on Sunday 8th December at 7.30pm.

Tickets are just £10 for adults, £5 for children and a family ticket (admits 2 adults and 2 or more children) costs just £25.  Benefitting the RUH Cancer Care Campaign, tickets can be purchased by contacting secretaryatCitySound@hotmail.co.uk or call 01225 707370.  For more information visit www.citysound.org.uk.

Read more

Bath Waitrose donates £310 through the Community Matters Fund

Huge thanks goes to Waitrose in Bath and all their generous customers! We received a fabulous £310 – which was raised through the Community Matters Fund (the green token boxes) for the month of October.

This wonderful donation will go towards helping build a pioneering new Cancer Centre at the RUH. We enjoyed a lovely Christmas coffee morning, meeting lots of the other charities who were also lucky beneficiaries – Waitrose donated a fabulous £4000 in total to all these charities over the past four months!

Read more

Cyclists ditch their bikes for running shoes

Whilst they normally spend their days cycling the streets of Bath delivering your ‘Local Post’, three staff members from Docmail Local Post are ditching their bikes, in place of running shoes, to take on the Bath Half challenge in support of The Forever Friends Appeal.  Joe Broadway, Jeremy Field and Talitha Burnett, have been training with a team of eleven of their colleagues to take on the 13.1 mile challenge next March.

This popular race, located in the historic city of Bath, will take place on Sunday 2nd March and The Forever Friends Appeal are thrilled that CFH Docmail a local print and mail company and parent company of Docmail Local Post, are sponsoring Ted’s Team in 2014, as well as entering a team of runners.

Docmail Local Post provides an efficient, secure, and environmentally friendly way to save money on sending local letters. Joseph Broadway, Postal Services Director of Docmail Local Post comments:  “We love to help out in the local community and The Forever Friends Appeal is a truly brilliant cause. All of our staff are prolific cyclists and we are always up for a challenge, even if it means pounding the pavements instead of riding the roads. We just have to remember that 13 miles is a short ride but a very long run.”

With general public entries filling up fast, The Forever Friends Appeal are encouraging people to join the Local Post runners and sign up with a Forever Friends Silver Bond place to raise funds for the charity.  Silver Bond places for The Forever Friends Appeal are now available and can be purchased for just a £35 initial donation, with a pledge to raise a further minimum sponsorship of £175 for The Forever Friends Appeal.

The current focus of the Appeal is the RUH Cancer Care Campaign – which is currently over half way to achieving its aim of raising £8.5 million, to contribute vital funds to the building of a pioneering new Cancer Centre for the Royal United Hospital in Bath.  Ted’s Team runners in the Bath Half can choose to raise funds towards this pioneering new Cancer Centre, or they can choose to fundraise for other hospital departments.  Events and Community Officer for the Appeal, Jo Hones, comments:  “The RUH is a cause that is close to the hearts of so many!  So we hope that people will choose to run the Bath Half next year for either the new Cancer Centre or another department in the hospital.  It is the perfect opportunity to show your support for a friend, family member or loved one who has been looked after at the RUH. Though do make sure you sign up soon, so as not to miss out!”

The Forever Friends Appeal are also encouraging people who have already secured their own general public place in the event to raise funds for the RUH Cancer Care Campaign.  However, if you would like to join Ted’s Team but have another department in the hospital that you would like to support, please also contact the events team for more information.

Visit our Bath Half Marathon page to signup

Read more

£300 raised by ‘Offsiders’ signed photos

‘The local cricket team, the Offsiders, was founded in 1994 and have been playing cricket in the area ever since.

Several copies of this photograph (which pictures the team over the years) was signed by David Gower (the famous batsman) wishing them good luck.  The photographs have been auctioned and £300 raised towards the Cancer Care campaign.

In fact the Offsiders have bought 3 rows of virtual bricks for the new Cancer Centre.  Thank you Offsiders and in particular Andrew Ward.


Read more

Senergy staff climb equivalent of Everest

Fundraisers from a Bath project management company have been climbing hills in aid of charity.

Staff from Senergy, in Gay Street, have climbed the equivalent of Mount Everest to raise money for the Forever Friends Appeal at the RUH.

The team took on the international company initiative Sportober, which challenged staff at branches across the world to do something sporty for charity.

After climbing hills around Bath in October, the total combined distance they covered topped the 29,000ft mark. The firm itself has also donated money.

Peter Larkin, from Senergy Bath, said: “We are raising money for a fantastic local cause. It has been a real challenge and something the whole office has enjoyed taking part in.”

Read more

Walk of Life 2014 entries now open

Open to both men and women, walkers can take part in either the full 21 miles from Devizes to Bath, 12 miles in the morning from Devizes to Bradford-On-Avon, or 9 miles in the afternoon from Bradford-On-Avon to Bath.

Read more

Bath Venetian Ball supports Bristol & Bath Hospitals

Bath Venetian Charity Ball will be held at the Assembly Rooms on Saturday 1st February 2014. All guests will be welcomed with a glass of bubbly and will then indulge in a three-course dinner with complimentary wine. Those in attendance will also be able to take part in a silent auction with some fantastic prizes including all-day spa tickets for two in Whatley Manor, family tickets to Cardiff Castle and Lacock Abbey and many dining gift vouchers for Bath restaurants.

Five different acts will provide an evening’s-worth of entertainment, bringing together a variety of music that anyone and everyone can enjoy. The evening will get started by welcoming guests at the drinks reception with musical delights from close harmony group The Spangles, think Blondie meets the Andrews sisters. Then whilst guests enjoy a three course meal with wine from the caterers Searcys, two wonderful female singers will perform – Hannah Bishay (who performed in the BBC Symphony Chorus during this year’s Last Night of the Proms) and Jess Bishay (who was 5th in the UK National Songwriting competition). They will sing a broad catalogue of songs from the last 20 years. To add to the musical experience during the meal Shaun Holley, Deputy Director of The Village Singers and Choral Director for Malmesbury Music Academy will follow with his amazing bass baritone repertoire covering the likes of Faure and Strauss. After dinner, guests will be blown away by Electric Planet, a four piece female fronted band accompanied by the jazz sax and finally a chance to dance the night away to DJ Sam.
The Ball will be raising funds for two local charities: The Forever Friends Appeal’s Cancer Care Campaign at the Royal United Hospital in Bath and The Friends of Bristol’s leading cancer specialist centre, the Bristol Haematology & Oncology Centre.

Tickets are available from: bath-venetian-charity-ball.eventbrite.co.uk or valerie.simpson@cara-online.com

Event organisers Val Simpson and Anne Pillay tell their story about how they met during their treatments of breast cancer. The two Scottish women both found comfort and common grounds during their stay in the Bristol Haematology & Oncology Centre and have since found, as which they describe; a ‘lifelong friendship’.

Anne Pillay comments: “The morning had been surreal and I can vividly remember thinking ‘did I hear the consultant correctly, did he actually say I had breast cancer? I now had the unenviable task of telling my husband, 17 year old son Myles and mum, who was in her late 70s, that her only daughter had breast cancer. This was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Myles was amazing and showed maturity far beyond his years. He gave me the biggest hug you could imagine and said ‘you will be alright mum!’ From then on I decided I was going to give everything I had to fight this cancer.

During the eight months of treatment, everything went to plan and my body fortunately accepted the various stages of the treatment pretty well. I think it was during my second chemotherapy session that I met Val. She arrived with her laptop in tow – she was not going to let a chemotherapy session hold her back! During my treatment I met some amazing people and I gained a lifelong friend in Val. I have a much more relaxed approach to life now.

I am the first to admit that I was one of the lucky ones. I owe so much to the on-going research into breast cancer which helped map out my treatment. The care and compassion I received from my surgeon, my oncologists and all the staff involved were second to none and this is why I want to give something back to the Bristol Oncology Centre.”

Valerie Simpson comments: “It was the week of The Royal Wedding, we had arranged for friends to come and enjoy the day, having a barbeque, with champagne and Pimms in the garden. On the morning of that big day, while I was racing around getting organized, I got a phone call saying that they had spotted a breast mass and I had to come to Bristol for further tests on Tuesday. I went for my tests and on Friday the Consultant in Bristol confirmed I had breast cancer, the week after I had my first of two operations.

It was really awful telling my daughter Cara about my diagnosis. I sort of chickened out by telling her then running to the gym to work out for an hour. I was already getting a reputation for being different ~ I told my husband (Bill) to carry on with his planned training course he was delivering during my second operation. The anesthetist said that I probably got the prize for the most bizarre question asked of him – ‘Do you know the wifi passcode? I’ve got a few files I need to send before the operation.’

In total I had four chemotherapy sessions, six weeks of radiotherapy and 20 sessions of Herceptin every three weeks. The treatment started in May 2011 and finished in October 2012 ~ about 18 months all in. I think it was during my second Herceptin session that I first met Anne. We instantly had a joke about things and found we had quite a few things in common (apart from just cancer). My daughter is the same age as her son and we both are originally from Scotland. I have gained a lifelong friendship from my treatments and have met many wonderful, uplifting and kind people.

I am a lucky woman and have always been thankful for a happy and enjoyable life. I always try to see the funny side of things (for example – an open top car with a scarf or wig was a bit of a challenge!). So keep smiling and support us please.”

Both charities are raising funds towards two worthy projects. The Friends of Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre have pledged to raise £2 million in order to buy the Centre a world-class radiotherapy LINAC. Half of all cancer patients generally receive their radiotherapy by one of these highly complex machines. In buying such a LINAC, the Friends will keep Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre at the leading edge of world-class radiotherapy.

The Forever Friends Appeal at the RUH in Bath is raising £8 million towards a new and pioneering Cancer Centre at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. The RUH is planning on replacing all the outdated 1940s cancer facilities, with a state-of-the-art £23.5 million Cancer Centre fit for purpose that will bring treatment ‘under one roof’.

This new Cancer Centre will take inspiration and draw on experiences from the RUH’s most recently completed development project, The Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care (NICU) which has won 10 National & International Awards since its opening in July 2011. It will take the same holistic approach, as with NICU, and provide a soothing and relaxing environment for patients and their families that will transform the patient experience.

Sarah Wexler, Consultant Haemotologist at the RUH comments: “It is important to make the patient feel safe, supported and special, so that they can get through their treatment with the least amount of stress. The new Centre will revolutionise the way we provide cancer care.”

To support cancer care and join this elegant event, purchase tickets from: bath-venetian-charity-ball.eventbrite.co.uk or valerie.simpson@cara-online.com

Read more

Christmas Community Concert

Wednesday 11th December, St Michael’s Without, Broad St, Bath.

Music of both traditional and modern arrangements for Brass Band and choral pieces by the Royal United Hospital Choir.
The audience will be invited to join in a ‘Carol Singalong’ and children will have the chance to conduct the band!
Proceeds go towards the ‘Forever Friends’ Cancer appeal and Bath Spa Band.

The Bath Spa Band plays at many different events in and around Bath, including summer concerts in the local parks and gardens, and performances in the local churches. The band also competes in national and regional brass band contests, and in 2008 represented the West of England in the National Finals of the Brass band Championships. In 2010 they secured promotion to the second section of the National Brass Band Registry of Great Britain.

The Royal United Hospital Choir sing a varied repertoire of classic pop songs, light classical music, jazz and some world music. They perform regularly at the hospital to contribute to the life of the hospital community and also do concerts in and around Bath with other choirs and music ensembles.

Book tickets now

Read more