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Trekkers conquer the Great Wall of China for charity

Fourteen individuals from Bath, Bristol, Somerset and Wiltshire have returned home from an incredible ten day charity challenge trekking the Great Wall of China, to help raise funds for Cancer Care at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. As part of their ten day adventure, the trekkers scaled mountains and navigated unrestored and rarely visited sections of the Great Wall to follow its ancient path. Between them, the team has raised over an amazing £45,000 to help build a pioneering new Cancer Centre at the RUH that will transform care for patients and their families.

The team began their adventure in Beijing and journeyed through Huangyaguan, Jinshanling, Geubikou and Mutianyu, encountering all types of incredibly demanding terrain. Whilst some sections of the Wall have been extensively renovated there are many parts which have been left virtually untouched by modern man, which took the trekkers out of their comfort zones to experience the real Wall! Only two days were spent on the ‘tourist’ sections, with the remainder left to tackle the stony, steep and often slippery pathway that winds between watch towers, traditional farming villages, valleys and mountains. The days were varied with and on one day saw the team trekking for nine hours and on another they tackled a 200-step, near vertical ascent up ‘Heaven’s Ladder.’ Whilst pushing themselves to their limits physically, the trek also had many rewards including the breathtaking views this ancient wonder has to offer.

The RUH trekkers, of which five are staff at the hospital, include Dr Dorothy Goddard who is Associate Medical Director for Cancer Strategy at the Trust, Dr Hugh Goddard, Rebecca Brooks, Karen Burge, Russell Corbett, Jacqueline Cousins, Sarah Leybourne, Paula Richards, Christine Walters, Sue Gilby, Sally Smith, Patricia Symons, Alex Whiting and Biddy Walcot.

As part of their Great Wall challenge each of the fourteen trekkers, who live and work locally, had a fundraising target to reach. In the months leading up to departure a flurry of fundraising activities have taken place to help them get there from cake sales, band nights, clothes swaps to raffles and a very apt Panda naming game – the adventure began before they even set foot in China!

For each member of the team, the trek has been a personal and life changing journey which has brought with it new experiences, friendships and a truly united effort for Cancer Care at the RUH.

Karen Burge, one member of the team from Midsomer Norton, explains her personal journey:

“The most amazing and difficult thing I’ve ever done!  We had laughter and tears and some great friendships were formed on the Great Wall of China.  An unforgettable experience. This time four years ago I was having cancer treatment and struggled to get up the stairs in my house and I can’t believe what I’ve just achieved!  We arrived in China a group of strangers and came back a team.  Everyone had their personal reasons for being there but all wanting to make a difference.  Such an inspirational and wonderful group of people.  I will always remember the last few days and how lucky I was to experience them.”

The Forever Friends Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign is raising £8.5 million towards a pioneering Cancer Centre at The Royal United Hospital in Bath. This new Centre will transform the care for patients and their families affected by this life changing diagnosis. The hospital is planning on replacing its outdated 1940s cancer facilities, with a state-of-the-art £23.5 million Cancer Centre (66% NHS funded / 33% charitable funds) fit for purpose that will bring treatment ‘under one roof’.

Laura Pearce, Events Fundraiser for the Appeal comments: “We are so proud and grateful to all of our China trekkers and those who have supported them throughout their fundraising. They have all worked incredibly hard, not only in taking on this physical, and often emotional, challenge but to help raise significant funds for the build of the new Cancer Centre – £45,000 is no easy feat! We hope that they have made memories and friendships that will last a lifetime, paired with the knowledge that each step they took on the Wall has got the RUH one step closer to a pioneering Cancer Centre”

With the success of the China Trek, the Forever Friends Appeal are now looking for another group of adventurous fundraisers to take part in a trek to India in October 2015 – to discover the spiritual home of the Dalai Lama! For more information please give Laura a call on 01225 821535 or visit our India Trek Page.

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Take part in our new fire Walk event

Face your Fears Fire walk! The hottest, shortest sponsored walk you’ll ever do!

Are you brave enough to walk barefoot over red hot coals smouldering over 1000°F and achieve the seemingly impossible? Why not challenge yourself, increase your confidence and overcome your fears while making a real difference at the Royal United Hospital.


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Ted’s Big Day Out! is coming…

Have you registered your company, school, nursery or community group to take part in this years Ted’s Big Day Out? The Forever Friends Appeal’s annual fundraising day is back on the 17th October and will be taking the RUH Catchment area by storm, from teddies to funky footwear, supporters will be helping make a difference at the RUH.

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Excalibur Record Breaking Balls – sign up today

Record Breaking BallsHave you ever thought about getting your name in the record books? Local company Excalibur are offering people the chance to do just that as they announce their world record attempt in support of their fundraising appeal to raise £50,000 towards the Teenage and Young Adult Facilities for the new Cancer Centre at the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

On the 11th of October David Lloyd Gym in Swindon will play host to the Excalibur challenge to break the world record attempt for the largest Swiss ball exercise class. Anyone from the age of 14 upwards* can join in the fun in a low impact 40 minute class. Participants will be required to pay a £25 registration fee and will be issued you with their own record breaking ball to use during the class and keep as a memento of the attempt.

Kiz Davis the lead instructor for the event said “the current record stands at 348 and we are aiming to set the new record at 600 people. The class will be low impact and suitable for all levels of fitness* and if all participants look to raise additional sponsorship there’s no reason why we can’t raise in excess of £15,000 from the event. We can’t wait to welcome our future world record holders through the doors at David Lloyd this October”.

Each year, the RUH treats over 2200 new cases of cancer from the hospitals extensive catchment area. The Forever Friends Appeal are therefore raising £8.5million towards a new pioneering new centre for the hospital which aims to provide a nurturing and therapeutic environment that is centred on patient care and experience, promoting health and a ‘holistic’ approach for patients and their families.

Excalibur’s CEO James Phipps is confident with the backing of the local community they will hit their £50,000 target, “The RUH Teenage cancer area is a much needed facility, helping young people battle through such a terrible disease. Currently teenagers are treated in the children’s ward before moving to adult care at the age of 18. Our teenage years are so important and it’s essential we provide these patients with the ability to stay in contact with their friends and keep up with their studies. The money we raise will help Bath RUH create a start-of-the-art facility providing a more holistic and complete approach to care that covers much of the South West.”

The record breaking balls event marks the third in a series of events Excalibur are organising in support of their fundraising efforts.

Sign up to take part at ex-c.co.uk/recordbreakingballs

* Participants must complete and pass pre-exercise medical clearance for the event

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CrossFit Bath builds up a sweat in fundraiser

How does seven consecutive hours of intensive exercise sound to you?

Understandably, there were some exhausted members of the CrossFit gym in Bath on Saturday night after taking part in the fundraiser for the cancer ward at the RUH.

The gym aimed to raise £5,000 for the hospital unit, after one of its members, an 11-year-old aspiring boxer, lost his mum to cancer two years go.

Co-owner, Adam Shackell, said: “It was a fantastic day. Everyone was brilliant and I think we have raised more than our £5,000 target.

“The William Budd ward at the RUH is quite old and it also doesn’t get the recognition it deserves so the money that we have raised is for them.”

The day involved four events including long distance rowing, sprinting, deadlifts, and circuit time trials with squats, box jumps, kettlebell and wallballs.

The gym is run by Adam, Ed Mason and Ollie Mansbridge.

CrossFit is a full-body workout programme which mixes cardio, weight lifting, gymnastics and core training.

Photo by PAUL GILLIS/ paulgillisphoto.com /  Article from Bath Chronicle

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Warminster Pig Race Night raises £2,352

The Warminster & District RUH Fundraising Group organised a very exciting and thrilling pig race night, with some friendly, fluffy pink pigs racing against time. The Pig Race Night took place on Saturday 6th September at The Organ Inn in Warminster. The evening raised a fantastic £2,352.35

The electrifying atmosphere saw grown men cry over their losing pigs. There were 4 races and five hungry pigs eager to race and trot their way to victory. The pigs were auction, with the highest and most expensive fluffy pig going for £150. Everyone else paid their 50p bets on who they believed was going to be the winner of each race. Event organiser Terry Hickmott spent three months building and creating the race track, which was an eye-opener and it gave ambience to the atmosphere. The night was so popular, the event organisers, husband and wife Terry and Anne Hickmott have been booked for four future race nights already. They will be charging customers for the rent of the track and the commentator service. Every penny they charge will be donated to the charity and they will be kindly volunteering their service and time.

Quote event organisers, Anne and Terry Hickmott of Frome comments: “The night was a complete success, we were overwhelmed by the amount of supporters who showed up to have fun and support the charity. Thank you to all our friends, family and neighbours who made the night possible. We stayed up until 2am that evening, still buzzing from adrenaline! We are flattered that more people want to book us up, to use the track and support the charity. We are still on cloud nine!”

The Charity is aiming to build a new and pioneering Cancer Centre where clinical excellence will be providing a nurturing environment that is patient centred, reducing stress and anxiety, whilst promoting health and thereby embracing a “holistic approach” for patients and their families. This will deliver a uniquely beneficial healing environment with better outcomes, exceptional patient care and a strong emphasis on long-term survivorship.

Zoe Tainton, Community Fundraiser at The Forever Friends Appeal: “I would like to thank the group for their exceptional and passionate hard work over the past one and a half years. We have gained not just ‘forever’, but also true friends forever. I have been very proud to see them grow, with more wonderful, kind hearted and inspirational people joining us.”

The Warminster and District RUH Fundraising Group are a thriving social group of 16 from the areas of Warminster, Westbury and Frome. They meet once a month at Ruby’s Bistro and enjoy a social drink and catch up. Since they started in March 2013 they have raised over £4000 for the Appeal, by organising fun and exciting events in the community.

If you think you may be interested in joining the Warminster & District RUH Fundraising Group, please do not hesitate to get in contact with the Chairperson, Hilary Smith, owner of Ruby’s Bistro, Warminster High Street. Please feel free to pop in and introduce yourself or give Hilary a call on 01985 217373.

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Ted visits Monkton Pre-Prep to promote Ted’s Big day Out!

Pupils at Monkton Pre-Prep were bursting with excitement last week when Ted from The Forever Friends Appeal paid them a visit.

Joining them in their assembly, the children heard all about the exciting things taking place for this year’s Ted’s Big Day Out on 17th October.

Every child was given a sheet to design their own Funky Footwear, the theme for the day this year and they have all started to think about what they will wear on their feet when we celebrate Ted’s Big Day Out at Monkton. After the assembly there were lots of cuddles as the children said goodbye to Ted.

Head of our Pre-Prep Mrs Kathryn Morrell said: “Children had a wonderful surprise when they arrived at assembly and Ted walked in. This is the ninth year we have taken part in Ted’s Big Day Out and supported the Forever Friends appeal, and the children are more excited than ever about taking part this year.”

Ted’s Big Day Out is sponsored by Mogers Drewett, and The Forever Friends Appeal has organised a wealth of activities this year for families to take part in. This includes a Wacky Wellie hunt in Bath. There are 15 shops with some specially designed wellies hiding in their shop window. Download the map here to find them all.

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Mogers Drewett launch school & Nursery competition

To celebrate The Forever Friends Appeal’s annual fundraising day “Ted’s Big Day Out!” official event sponsors Mogers Drewett Solicitors are launching a special schools and nursery competition, which is open to every school and nursery who registers to take part in the Appeal’s annual event which every year raises money to help transform care for patients and their families at The Royal United Hospital, across Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire.

Steven Treharne, Managing Partner at Mogers Drewett says “Almost everyone knows someone who has been treated or cared for at the RUH, whether family, friends or colleagues and that is why Mogers Drewett are pleased to adopt The Forever Friends Appeal as our charity of the year again this year”.

Ted’s Big Day Out! started in 1999 and over the course of fifteen years has seen thousands of teddies across Bath, Bristol, Somerset and Wiltshire enjoy an annual outing to work, school or wherever to help raise tens of thousands of pounds for The Forever Friends Appeal in just one day!  For 2014 the Appeal is encouraging schools, businesses, nurseries, clubs, community organisations and individuals to sign up to support the fundraising day by having fun with funky footwear – take part and wear anything from silly socks, colourful crocs to wacky wellies, loopy laces and odd shoes!  Or you could simply pay just £1 to take part in the traditional way and take your teddy out for the day on Friday 17th October.

Steven continues: “To encourage as many people as possible to get involved in the day, Mogers Drewett are running a competition and inviting all registered schools and nurseries in the region to encourage their pupils to design a ‘wacky’ pair of wellies for Ted”.

Events & Community Officer for the Appeal, Emily Lynch, explains: “Registration to take part in Ted’s Big Day Out is completely free! Every school and nursery who registers will receive competition details as well as a special welly stencil which can be duplicated, decorated and sent back to The Forever Friends Appeal team for the chance to win special prizes!”

Mogers Drewett are giving away a £50 Odeon Cinema gift card to the student who is judged as designing the wackiest pair of wellies and £100 of Waterstones book vouchers to the school or nursery of the winning child. The closing date of submission of entries is Friday 10th October 2014 and the competition is split into two categories – 6 and under and 7 to 11 year olds.

The competition is being launched this Wednesday 10th September by members of Mogers Drewett, The Forever Friends Events Team and their friendly mascot Big Ted, at three carefully selected schools and nurseries across the RUH catchment area: Monkton Pre-Prep School, Bath, Snapdragons Nursery, Melksham and Jabberwocky Nursery in Street. The winning students and their schools and/or nurseries will be announced by Mogers Drewett by Friday 17th October 2014 the lucky winners will be presented with their prizes by a special visit from Big Ted himself!

Emily continues: “If you belong to a school or nursery, we hope that you will register to take part in Ted’s Big Day Out on Friday 17th October and take part in Mogers Drewett Wacky Welly Competition. Your support will help The Forever Friends Appeal transform care for patients and their families at Bath’s Royal United Hospital!”

If you are a school, nursery, business or community organization and would like to register to take part in Ted’s Big Day Out 2014, proudly sponsored by Mogers Drewett Solicitors, you can do so online at www.tedsbigdayout.co.uk – it’s completely free and you could win a visit from Big Ted himself!

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Westbury woman’s wacky European driving challenge

AN accountant from Westbury will be driving across Europe this week to raise money for the RUH Cancer Unit.

Natasha Penny, of Busy Books, will be taking part in the Motoscape Rally, a  banger rally stretching over 2,000 miles through the continent to Prague.

There are 78 teams of 2-4 people taking part in the rally, all of whom must drive a car bought for £333 or less. The cars and their drivers must also have a theme. Natasha will be driving a 1994 Toyota Celica she bought on eBay for £200. She has decorated the car in the style of the 1960s cartoon Wacky Races, and will be dressing as Penelope Pitstop for the rally.

Natasha said, “I’ve always been a bit of a petrolhead and I followed the race last year; it looked like so much fun I had to try it. Although a little nervous about driving in Europe for the first time, I’m really looking forward to the rally and am very hopeful that the car will hold up! I’m most excited for the Stalvio Pass in Italy and can’t wait to take  the car round the Nürburgring.

“People have been really generous and I’d like to say thanks to everyone who sponsored me, as well as Elliott Motor Services for checking the car over and popping an MOT on it, Bristol Auto Electrical in Westbury for various motor supplies, Compugraphic Design for the majority of the stickers to my design, along with Unique Signs, VK Graphics & Autoscratch Repairs.”

Natasha  will be doing the rally alongside a few other local people, and has raised over £870 for the Bath RUH’s Forever Friends Appeal, specifically the cancer care unit. She said, “Several of us have lost loved ones to this disease, and it needs a cure. It’s a unique fundraising challenge, and we hope to have an awesome experience on the way too.”

The Motoscape Rally will go through 12 countries in seven days and involve driving for roughly six hours a day. It will pass through the UK, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, and end in the Czech Republic.

If you would like to donate to Natasha’s fundraising effort, go to www.justgiving.com/NatMatMotoscape.

Find out more about the rally at www.motoscape-rally.co.uk.


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Remember a charity in your Will week

This week is ‘Remember a Charity in your will week’. Running from 8th – 14th September, the week aims to inspire people in the UK to think about leaving a charitable gift in their will, whilst raising awareness of why you should make a will.

Research shows that one in five people in the UK have not made a will. There are many reasons to write a will, it allows you to make sure your wishes are known and fulfilled, your loved ones are looked after and it ensures that your assets are dealt with correctly, thus reducing the burden on those you leave behind.

It’s a common myth that only the rich and famous leave money to charity when they die. This couldn’t be any further from the truth. The reality is without the gifts left in Wills by people like you, many of the charities we know and support today wouldn’t even exist. Your gift can be whatever size you choose to give, it will always make a difference.

Thankfully 74% of the UK population support charities and when asked, 35% of people say they’d happily leave a gift in their Will once family and friends had been provided for – the problem is only 6% actually do.

That’s why, if we all leave some money in our Wills for charity as well as our family, we can make a huge difference. In fact, just a 4% change in behaviour would generate an addition £1 billion for good causes in the UK every year. Charitable legacies are the foundation for many good causes in the UK and are vital in continuing their work.

By leaving a gift to The Forever Friends Appeal in this way, you can help our work to continue to improve healthcare for the Trust and across the NHS. It may be a way of saying thank you for the care and treatment you or a loved one has received, or simply because you want to make a difference to patients and hospital staff in the future. We support and raise funds for all 70 wards and departments of the Royal United Hospital, so you can make your gift specific to an area of its work or leave it to us to use the money where the need is greatest across the RUH.

Our aim with your help, is to make healthcare better. As a charity, we support improvements to patient care and medical research at the RUH beyond that which can be achieved by NHS funding alone.

We all need to think about the future, this is why we are promoting this type of giving this week to ask you to consider leaving The Forever Friends Appeal a gift in your will – a cause that we hope is close to you heart. Taking a moment to think about leaving a gift in this way for your hospital is an amazing thing to do and we are truly grateful – Thank You.

No matter how large or small, your gift is an incredibly thoughtful way to support the RUH. You can be sure that it will make a difference to the care provided and will contribute to securing the future of the RUH – supporting the millions of patients and their families who pass through its door now and in the future.

To find out more or to discuss leaving a gift in your will in confidence, please contact Jan Witt at the appeal on 01225 825819 or email jan.witt@nhs.net

We recommend you contact a solicitor about making a will. Your solicitor can also help you make a small change (a codicil) to an existing will. There are different types of legacies, so discuss this with your solicitor who can best advise you on which to choose.

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