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Actress Anita Dobson backs A Flower to Remember

Actress and Singer, Anita Dobson, well known for her role in Eastenders as Angie Watts, is supporting the Royal United Hospital’s Charity, The Forever Friends Appeal with their fundraising initiative ‘A Flower to Remember’.

Anita is dedicating a flower in memory of her beloved Father, Alfred, who she sadly lost to Pancreatic Cancer.  Anita felt the Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign was one which was close to her heart and an opportunity to remember her father in a different way, whilst supporting the Hospital’s Charity.
This poignant fundraising initiative allows members of the public to remember those they have loved and sadly lost in a very special way this September. By giving a donation of their choice to the hospital’s charity, the name of their loved one will be dedicated on a pretty flower plaque and planted in the grounds of the RUH from the 7th September to the 21st of September in public view.

William Budd Day Care Nurse Chris Scott, is dedicating a Flower to remember for her parents Ben and Ellen. Chris lost her father Ben to Squamous Cell Mouth Cancer, and says; “having worked in William Budd Day Care at the RUH for over ten years, it was very hard to be on the other side with my Dad. My father was 95 yrs. old when he was diagnosed, yet age was not a factor, the Radiotherapy staff that treated him were incredible they treated him with the same care and respect as they would anyone else; they allowed him to live his remaining months as comfortable as possible. My job allows me understand the need of a new Cancer Centre and how this will not only make a difference for the patients but the staff too, which is why I am supporting the Flower to Remember scheme.”

All those who have donated flowers will also be invited to a special ‘Time of Reflection’ event on the 26th September 2015, where families and friends can celebrate the lives of whom the flowers have been dedicated and take their flowers home as a personal memento, if they so wish.

Anita wants the public to follow in her footsteps and to do as she has and support the Flower to Remember scheme; she is extremely passionate and urges the public that they still have time to take this opportunity to remember their loved ones in a very special way, whilst supporting their local hospital.

If you would like to Join Anita and Chris and have your own dedicated flower displayed amongst  theirs and hundreds alike, please visit  https://www.foreverfriendsappeal.co.uk/a-flower-to-remember

to donate online or contact The Forever Friends Appeal on Tel 01225 825691 or Email forever.friends@nhs.net

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Bath Cosy Club supports Cancer Care

Southgate based, bar and dining establishment – The Cosy Club – celebrated its recent fundraising achievements with a visit from Ted’s baby brother.  Throughout the month of June, Cosy Clubs all over the country were taking part in ‘Local Lounging’, fundraising for their favoured local charities. The Royal United Hospital’s Forever Friends Appeal was thrilled to have been chosen by The Cosy Club in Bath.

The fundraising kicked off on 1st June, with money being raised through various activities including party games, kids colouring competitions and a prize draw, which will all go towards the Appeal’s Campaign to help build a pioneering new Cancer Centre for the hospital.  On Thursday 18th June, the Club celebrated its 4th birthday and hosted a party for the occasion.  Fundraising activities took place throughout the day, including a bake sale, party games, face painting and evening musical entertainment.

When choosing which charity to support, staff from the Cosy Club decided on The Forever Friends Appeal as many colleagues have been touched by cancer through friends and family.  Kat Jones, Deputy Manager at The Cosy Club comments:  “We wanted to choose a charity that was close to all our hearts, which is why we decided to support the Cancer Care Campaign, and The Forever Friends Appeal helps everyone in Bath.”

All funds raised will be allocated to The Forever Friends Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign – raising £8.5million towards the build of an exceptional new Cancer Centre for patients and their families at the Royal United Hospital.  Each year the RUH cares for 2,200 new patients with cancer from the hospital’s extensive catchment area.  The clinical care is amongst the best in the UK, but the current cancer unit facilities are outdated and uncomfortable, and do not provide patients with the positive environment necessary to support the healing process.  The hospital’s vision is to build a Cancer Centre which will balance clinical expertise with the provision of a nurturing and therapeutic environment.

Forever Friends Appeal Corporate Officer, Louisa Smyllie, comments: “We are raising funds to help build a truly exceptional new Cancer Centre for the RUH, which will transform our cancer services.  We couldn’t achieve our fundraising goals without the incredible support of our local corporate community and we are therefore so pleased that the Cosy Club in Bath has chosen to help us achieve our ambitions!”


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Summit or Nothin’ for NICU

On Friday 14th August two brave men set out to complete the grueling Three Peaks Challenge in support of The Forever Friends Appeal. This popular, but by no means easy, challenge involves walking, climbing and (sometimes!) crawling  to the top of Ben Nevis (1344m), Scafell Pike (978m) and Snowdon (1085m), the three highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales. Richard Rogers and Adam Brown successfully completed their ‘Summit or Nothin’’ superhero feat in less than 24 hours and raised £200!

The duo decided to take on this challenge to support their close friends Neil and Jess Fawcett, of Peasedown St John, and their gorgeous son Ayrton to help raise funds for the Royal United Hospital’s Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care (NICU) – a unit the family is so thankful for and champions on a daily basis.

After months of training with long runs, walks and weight training – they were ready. Richard explains: “This challenge was tough, tougher than we realized, but we made it! It took us 5 hours and 15 minutes to complete a cloudy Ben Nevis,  5 hours and 50 minutes for  a sunny Scafell Pike and roughly 4 and a half hours to finish our challenge at the top of Snowdon in the dark. Our day began at 5am, heading to Ben Nevis and to our surprise and delight we made it to Snowdon, the final peak, at just gone midnight. The views were amazing at the top and we were the only people on the mountain! 

The challenge was important to us because it was a real test of physical and mental toughness. Raising money for Bath’s NICU is important because we know what good the team do for so many babies. We like to think that even though we did not raise thousands of pounds we may of helped at least one family.”

Baby Ayrton was born on 11th August 2013, at 27 weeks weighing just 2lb8oz and was immediately taken to be cared for on NICU. Even before little Ayrton was brought into the world, his parents had a long and difficult journey. Mum, Jess Fawcett explains Ayrton’s journey and the reason her family and friends supports this very special unit:

“No amount of words can describe how hard it is as a Mum when you have a child in NICU.  As a mother, you feel like you have let your child down before they have even had a chance to live their life.

10 years before Ayrton was born, myself and my husband Neil went through all the fertility treatment available… which sadly failed. I was then told there was only a 1.8% chance of ever falling pregnant naturally – which was completely devastating.  After all the heartache of not being able to have a family and counselling to come to terms with everything else going on in our heads, we decided to focus on being the best Auntie and Uncle to our nieces and nephews…

I was suffering from endometriosis and my cycle was abnormal, so missing a period was ‘normal’… until I started to suffer heartburn three days in a row, which was really unusual, so I scheduled a doctor’s appointment… The day before Mother’s Day 2013 we found out they were having a baby!

My pregnancy progressed fantastically well until August. I started to feel the most horrendous pain ever, so Neil took me straight into the RUH to get checked over.  The doctor told us that my waters were leaking and so I had to stay in hospital until the baby was born, using special injections to keep my pregnancy going until 32 weeks…  which was still a whole 6 weeks away. We were so worried and it felt like our whole world was crashing down around us.

Just one week later on 11th August 2013 at 5.45pm we gave birth to beautiful son who was born at 27 weeks weighing only 2 lbs 8oz.

The staff in NICU were amazing and even though we both knew our son was fighting for his little life… we made a pact.  All negativity was to stay at the door – only positivity was allowed in.

As the weeks went by, Ayrton got stronger and stronger, but at 5 weeks old (32 weeks) we received a phone call we never expected.  At 4am, NICU called to say our little miracle had been ventilated, and that we should come in immediately.  By 9am, Ayrton was rushed to St. Michaels Hospital in Bristol, where he underwent a 4 hour operation. With only a 1 in 5 chance of surviving, Ayrton had contracted NEC (dying of the bowel) and had to have 15 cm of bowel removed.  Against all odds Ayrton impoved and after spending 2 out of 4 weeks in Bristol on Morphine, he was transferred back to Bath’s NICU until it was time to go home.

Finally after 13 weeks in hospital, on the 8th November 2013 (4 days after his due date) we were allowed to take our son home! If it wasn’t for RUH’s NICU and the surgeons in Bristol, the outcome could have been ever so different. We owe our Son’s life to all the doctors and nurses who spent all their time, love, sweat and tears to keep him alive.

Neil and I are so proud of Richard and Adam for completing such a tough challenge. Despite everything they faced….they came through and fought on. Thank you both from past, present and future families in NICU!”

At the Royal United Hospital in Bath one in ten babies are born too early, too sick or too soon and therefore need additional care like Ayrton. The Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care (NICU) provides this type of care to around three hundred babies every year. These babies, who can fit in the palm of your hand or are too sick to survive on their own, need everything that modern technology can offer. This very Centre was 50% funded by The Forever Friends Appeal, the main charitable arm of the Hospital, from charitable support as part of the NICU ‘space to grow’ Campaign and provides these premature babies with the best possible start in life. Charitable donations and support from people like Richard, Adam and the Fawcett family, continue provide state-of-the-art treatment and diagnostic equipment that helps staff deliver the best possible care to these fragile young lives.

To sponsor the ‘Summit or Nothin’’ challenge (Richard and Adam’s fundraising page is still open!) and support premature babies at the RUH like Ayrton, please visit their online fundraising page: www.justgiving.com/Summitornothin

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Rotork Backs The Brick Wall Club

This summer, long-standing supporters Rotork Controls Ltd, became a member of the Brick Wall Club thanks to a donation through Rotork’s Charity Committee.

Rotork have supported the Forever Friends Appeal for many years and raised fantastic funds for the new Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care. Earlier this year members of the Rotork Charity Committee Zoe Averill and Lucy Dunn, came to visit the RUH to see what we have achieved so far and our plans for a new Cancer Care Centre. The RUH aims to replicate the success seen in the Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care and build a Cancer Centre which will balance clinical expertise with the provision of a nurturing and therapeutic environment.

The RUH clinical care is amongst the best in the UK, but the cancer unit facilities are outdated and uncomfortable, and do not provide patients with the positive environment necessary to support the healing process. The RUH Cancer Care Campaign is raising £8.5million towards the build of an exceptional new Cancer Centre for cancer patients and their families.

Following their visit of our current Oncology department, the Rotork Charity Committee decided to get involved and support our Cancer Care Campaign by joining the Brick Wall Club.

Zoe Averill from the Rotork Charity Committee told us “We are delighted to be able to support a local campaign, which we hope will go on to help people in our local community”

Corporate Officer for The Forever Friends Appeal, Louisa Smyllie, comments: “We are thrilled that Rotork have joined the Brick Wall Club to support the Cancer Care Campaign. Coming to visit the RUH is a great way to see the real impact donations can make and we hope others are inspired to join.’

To find out more about attending a tour of our Oncology department or to become a member of The Brick Wall Club or for more information, please call the Appeal office on 01225 825392.

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Ted meets Frome Solicitors to say a big thank you

Ted meets three out of the four Frome Solicitors to say a big Thank you! for supporting The Forever Friends Appeal’s brand new initiative ‘RUH Will Month’ running throughout September. Participating Solicitors Caroline Fletcher (Harris & Harris), James Hollis (FDC Law) and Emma Vautier (Brown & Vautier Solicitors) are kindly showing their support by providing a professional Will Writing Service and waiving their fees to support their local hospital.

A full list of participating solicitors can be found here

Caroline Fletcher, Associate Solicitor for Harris & Harris and an expert in Wills comments:

“We are very proud to support The Forever Friends Appeal by participating in their Make a Will Month.

“Making a Will is very important as it is the only way to ensure your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes. If you do not make a Will then the Intestacy Rules will apply to your estate which means that it will be distributed according to the Law. This may result in people you never intended benefiting.

“Having your Will drafted by a properly qualified professional, means you can ensure that your estate passes to those people or charities that you intend. By making your Will during Make a Will Month, not only do you benefit from professional advice, you are also helping a worthwhile local charity.”

Jan Witt, Legacy Officer for The Forever Friends Appeal said, “Many of us put off making a will thinking there will be time to do it later, and it is estimated that only one third of the population has an up to date will which reflects their current situation.

“Making a will or updating your existing one gives you full control over your money and assets to guarantee they go to the people and the causes you care about most.

“It is perfectly legal to write your own will, but few of us have the skills needed to do this properly.  To help you with this, The Forever Friends Appeal is proud to be working with professional solicitors around the RUH catchment area and hosting its first ever ‘Make a Will’ campaign during the month of September.

“16 participating solicitors will charge a fee of £100 to draw up a standard will or £150 for a standard double will and their fees will be donated to The Forever Friends Appeal.

“Four main events which may require you to consider and update your will include marriage, a new family member, a divorce, or a death.”

Find out more by visiting our Make a Will month page

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Cycle ride in memory of Devizes hairdresser Kelly

The infectious smile of hairdresser Kelly Ross, who died last month aged 32, will help cyclist Craig Townsend go through the pain barrier as he raises money in her memory.

Mr Townsend, 34, of Quakers Walk, Devizes, knew and loved Mrs Ross as both a friend and family member as she was a cousin of his wife Abi.

He will take part in the Wiltshire 100 event on September 6 along with two friends Paul Paradise and Carl Minshull.

Mr Townsend said: “Kelly was such a cheerful loving person and always doing stuff for other people so the family want her to be remembered for that.

“We will continue to do charity events to honour her.”

The family has chosen the Forever Friends Appeal at the Royal United Hospital, Bath, where Mrs Ross was treated in the cancer unit. A collection at her funeral raised about £1,500 for the £8.5 million appeal to pay for a new cancer unit at the hospital.

Mrs Ross left two young children Ruby, three, and Jack who turned one a few weeks after she died at home on July 4 surrounded by her family.

She was only diagnosed with cancer in April after several months of pain and weight loss.

Mr Townsend, who works for Cross Manufacturing, had originally planned to do the Three Cities Challenge at the end of August which covers 350 miles over four days and takes in London, Amsterdam and Brussels.
But his wife is expecting their first child at the beginning of September and did not want to risk being out of the country.

He said: “A few mates suggested doing the Wiltshire 100 so I thought why not and booked it up. I did the London to Paris ride two years ago but have never done 100 miles in one day so it’s going to be a big challenge for me.

“I haven’t done any major miles lately so for the next two weeks I will be training hard.”

Mr Minshull, 33, who also works at Cross Manufacturing, will be raising money for Wiltshire Air Ambulance. He only took up cycling five months ago in a bid to loose weight. He is now four stone lighter.

Mr Paradise, 32, of Forty Acres Road, Devizes, has also seen a dramatic drop in his weight since he took up cycling. The web developer said: “Two years ago I was 21 stone and my doctor said my type 2 diabetes was not under control. I decided to change my lifestyle so I went on a diet and started cycling.

“I lost nearly nine stone over a year and half and I’m now no longer diabetic, my blood pressure is now normal and so is my cholesterol. So I decided to enter into the Wiltshire 100 to challenge myself.”

He will also be raising money for the Air Ambulance. He said: “I selected Wiltshire Air Ambulance because a family member a few years ago was treated by them, but sadly he passed away from the injuries.You never know when you will need them yourself.”

To sponsor the men go to justgiving.com/Craig-Townsend5

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Box pub honoured with award for fundraising efforts

Staff at the Queens Head Inn at Box were honoured by the Forever Friends Appeal with a senior community partner plaque in recognition of raising over £25,000 over the last 12 years.

Throughout this time, the pub has held a number of fundraising events although a firm favourite with locals is their Box Rocks festival which was first set up on Bank Holiday Monday, May 30, 1994 when a group of musicians decided to raise money for the local cause with performances from an array of bands.

Since this time, Box Rocks has gone from strength to strength, growing in popularity and profile and this year’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever, with eight hours of live music from eight different bands.

Lydia McGivern, community fundraiser at the Forever Friends Appeal said: “We are so grateful to the whole Box Rocks team who have worked tirelessly year after year to put on a fantastic event and raise vital funds for a number of wards and departments at the RUH.

“They have created such a positive way to contribute to the local community, helping to improve care for thousands of patients and their families. We can’t wait for this year’s event – come down and join us at The Queens Head for what promises to be an amazing day.”

Box Rocks starts at 2pm on August 31 and tickets cost £4 for adults.

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Piers Taylor, architect and BBC presenter to speak at event

Mea Fabula Films have announced the first of three monthly new ‘PIE talks’ starting in September, to raise money for The Forever Friends Appeal.

These talks, where PIE stands for Passionate, Intelligent and Engaging, are designed to bring people together to talk about their passions and how their life has shaped them.

The purpose of the events is to meet and learn about the people in our community, to encourage connections and to have conversations that might stimulate our thinking in new and interesting ways.

Each event has two expert local speakers, talking about what excites them and the story behind their passion.

There is a Q&A plus a live band afterwards, which gives the audience a chance to interact directly with the speakers and carry on the discussions.

The evening is a great opportunity to meet people and engage in inspiring conversations.

The speakers for the first event are Piers Taylor, architect and presenter of BBC’s “The House that £100k Built”, and Penny Hay, Director Of Research at 5x5x5=creativity and behind May’s “Forest Of Imagination” in Bath’s Queen Square.

Taylor’s talk is called “Challenging Orthodoxy” and Hay’s “Permission To Follow Your Passions”.

The band is Silver Phoenix, a five piece that plays music from the 60s and 70s with a few modern ones thrown in for good measure.

Ticket prices are £8 for an adult, £2 for a child and the money raised is donated to the Forever Friends Appeal at the RUH.

Tickets are available on Eventbrite here: https://pietalks.eventbrite.co.uk.

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Bath Tae Kwon-Do club help raise £1000

When Surrinder Sandham-Bains approached Robert Morris of Bath Tae Kwon-Do club to ask if she could put up a poster and some donation tins, she never expected to walk away with just shy of £1,000.

Surrinder, a student of the club, will walk 67km in the Himalayas this October as part of The Forever Friends Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign, with a target of £8.5 million for the hospital’s new cancer centre.

Mr Morris offered to hold a sponsored Spar-a-thon, where members of the club would participate in organised bouts of semi-contact fighting, to further help Surrinder’s efforts.

On the 21st July, 20 students turned up and fought their way through 90 minutes of organised sparring.  Ages ranged from 8 years to 60 plus.  It was sweaty, it was tough but well worth the effort as, between them, the students raised £879.

Mr Morris said “I’m extremely proud of the students’ efforts to raise money for such a worthy cause.  Sadly, many of us in our lifetimes are affected by cancer, so funding is essential for the continuation of the amazing care and service that the unit at the RUH provides.”

Laura Pearce, Events Fundraiser for The Forever Friends Appeal comments: “We are so grateful to Bath Tae Kwon Do for supporting Surrinder’s fundraising which will go towards our RUH Cancer Care Campaign.  This new Centre will transform the care of thousands of local patients and their families – taking a holistic and therapeutic approach to the environment that will help make them feel safe and supported at what is a very difficult time.”

Surrinder has a background in nursing and has herself worked at the RUH, knowing first-hand how excellent the care and support is.  Her personal fundraising target is £2850 and anyone wishing to donate can do so via the Just Giving website at https://www.justgiving.com/Surrinder-Bains3


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Oh baby! Mum’s 26.2 mile thank you to NICU

Holding your new born baby for the very first time is one of life’s most magical experiences that you never forget, but for local mum Charlene Newell her daughter’s early arrival at St Michael’s in Bristol was fraught and heart breakingly emotional. Baby Danika Newell needed extra special care in the weeks to come and was immediately taken from her mother’s arms to be looked after on a specialist premature baby unit in Bath – the new Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care (NICU). Thanks to the excellent care she received in the first few weeks of her life, Danika is now a healthy and happy two year old.

This October, Charlene (who is 31 years of age and a mother to six daughters all under the age of 11 including Danika) will be following in the footsteps of her fifth daughter’s first journey by running the Bristol to Bath Marathon. She will be joining The Forever Friends Appeal’s running team, along with her husband James, to raise funds for NICU as a thank you for saving her daughter’s life.

[alertinfo]We are the Official Local Charity Partner for the Bristol + Bath Marathon. To get a place on our team, or raise funds with your own place click here[/alertinfo]

Here’s their story, as told by Charlene: “My daughter was due in February 2013 and we were so excited to welcome the new addition to our family! However one evening in December, at 30 weeks, my waters suddenly broke and I had to be rushed straight to St. Michael’s in Bristol. After a few routine checks we discovered that my baby’s heart kept dropping, which was frightening, so I was quickly admitted underwent an emergency C-section.

My daughter, Danika Newell was born on 18th December 2012, 10 weeks early weighing 3lb5oz and this birth weight soon dropped to 2lb 10oz. I only saw my beautiful baby girl for a few minutes before the doctors made the decision to transfer her straight to Bath’s NICU where she could receive the specialist care she needed. I had to stay at St Michael’s and my heart felt like it had been ripped out of my chest when they took her away – she was so fragile and I was completely devastated, but knew it was the best for her.

Danika stayed at the RUH for the next 6 ½ weeks and there were so many ups and downs – it was a real emotional roller coaster for everyone. On day three they scanned her brain to see what was going on and found some bleeding. We were told this can happen but could go either way – it could clear up or it could get worse and so we had to play an exhausting waiting game. She also had a hemothorax and so had a tube inserted into her lungs to help her breathe. The alarm bell would always go off which still haunts me to this day. Just sitting there watching her heart rate drop was horrible. She was kept asleep for a while after she was born so all we could do was rest our hand gently on her skin and hope that everything would be ok. Leaving her in the Hospital alone in her incubator at the end of every day was heart breaking, knowing we could get a phone call in the middle of the night if there was a change in her condition, which did happen a couple of times.

We felt helpless but despite everything the nurses were wonderful and included us in her care as much as they could and as she got stronger we were able to change her nappy and give her a cuddle. As Danika was there over Christmas all the babies on the unit had a little stocking put at the bottom of their incubators to find on Christmas morning. Father Christmas even popped in for a visit on Christmas day! It was such a kind and thoughtful touch and really lifted our spirits – we’ll always remember Danika’s first Christmas.”

During her 6 ½ week stay on the Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care (NICU) Danika became stronger and stronger and eventually was allowed to come home. Now a bright and bubbly two year old, Charlene and James are supporting the unit by taking part in the Bristol to Bath Marathon – a 26.2 mile run that will begin in the city where Danika was born and take them to to the city where she spent the crucial first few weeks of her life, literally running right past the RUH’s doors on route.

Training for a marathon with six children can’t be easy but Charlene is a real superstar.  She’ll be completing the Torbay, Frome and Bristol half marathons in preparation for the big race. Charlene continues: “Due to the fantastic care Danika received and the support we were given I really wanted to give something back and raise funds for the never ending needs of this special unit. I have been training as much as possible, fitting it in in around being mum to my six lovely daughters (my favorite job in the world!) plus working at the BRI.

Completing the Bristol to Bath Marathon will be a massive challenge for me but nothing like the journey Danika went on as a baby. I know as long as I keep in mind the reason for all the hard work, I’ll keep pushing to the end with support of my family. It’s going to be an amazing event to be a part of and all for a very special cause.”

At the Royal United Hospital in Bath one in ten babies are born too early, too sick or too soon and therefore need additional care like Danika. The Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care (NICU) provides this type of care to around three hundred babies every year. These babies, who can fit in the palm of your hand or are too sick to survive on their own, need everything that modern technology can offer. This very Centre was 50% funded by The Forever Friends Appeal, the main charitable arm of the Hospital, from charitable support as part of the NICU ‘space to grow’ Campaign and provides these premature babies with the best possible start in life. Charitable donations and support from people like Charlene and James, continue provide state-of-the-art treatment and diagnostic equipment that helps staff deliver the best possible care to these fragile young lives.

To sponsor Charlene and support premature babies at the RUH like Danika, please visit her online fundraising page: www.justgiving.com/Charlene-Newell

If you would like to join Charlene and run the very first Bristol to Bath Marathon to support a ward or department that is close to your heart at the RUH please visit our Bristol + bath Marathon Page or call 01225 821535. The Appeal has a number of Gold Bond places still available to join the team!

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