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Grand Draw 2016 makes winners Christmas!

The Forever Friends Appeal are very pleased to announce the winner of this year’s Grand Draw 2016! Mrs Kettle from Horfield, Bristol was extremely excited and shocked when she received a call from the Forever Friends team letting her know she had won the Star prize, a BRAND NEW Kia Picanto! This incredible prize was generously supplied by local dealership, Allen Kia Bath.

The Forever Friends Appeal has been running an annual Christmas Raffle, The Grand Appeal, for many years, which raised nearly £20,000 towards the RUH Cancer Care Campaign. With an overall target of at least £8.5 million to build a new pioneering Cancer Centre, the Grand Draw brings the campaign another great step closer to being able to provide the best possible care and support for patients and families.

Each year nearly 20,000 tickets are bought showing the huge support for the Royal United Hospital from the community within the hospitals catchment area and beyond.

Although Mrs Kettle lives in Bristol, she explained ‘I always choose to visit the RUH because of the fantastic care we receive. My son is currently receiving treatment in the ENT Department. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff.  We do not mind the travel, it is all worth it!”

“I was in complete shock when I received the call saying I had won! My son and I had visited the hospital for an appointment and bought five tickets on the way out. I always support the charity and like to buy the raffle tickets each year, but I never thought I would win. It’s a really lovely surprise for Christmas!”

Andrew Muffett, Kia Brand Manager from Allen Kia says: “This is our fourth year of association with The Forever Friends Appeal. It is a wonderful opportunity to put a little something back into the community, and for such a wonderful cause. The icing on the cake was seeing the look on Mrs Kettle’s face when she found out about her prize! We look forward to helping the Forever Friends Appeal for many years to come”.

Richard Gyde, Deputy Head of Fundraising says: “It is truly inspiring that so many people take part in our annual Christmas raffle, and share their stories with our volunteers who man the raffle table in the Atrium of the RUH. I would like to thank each and every person who purchased a ticket, and say a special thanks to all the volunteers who gave up their time to sit and sell tickets for 4 weeks leading up to Christmas.

The full list of winners can be found here


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Swinging Success for Saltford Golf Club Charity of the Year

When Matt Baker, Saltford Golf Club Captain 2015/16, got in touch with The Forever Friends Appeal in September 2015 to say that he had chosen their RUH Cancer Care Campaign as his Charity of the Year, they had no idea the level of support that this amazing Club would provide. After a fantastic year of fundraising at the Club, Appeal staff and Big Ted (!) were thrilled to collect a cheque for £10,000, which will go a long way in helping to fund a pioneering new Cancer Centre at the RUH.

Matt chose the RUH Cancer Care Campaign as his charity of choice following his wife Mandy’s diagnosis with Breast Cancer in 2013, and the wonderful support and treatment she received at the RUH. Mandy has now been given the All Clear.

Matt had a very busy year fundraising to reach this fantastic total, with lots happening both on and off the course. For the players there was a very successful Night Golf event in February, and a Charity Am-Am Day in June. Unfortunately, the Great British weather decided not to play ball (quite literally!) on the Am-Am Day and the event had to be called off half way through due to torrential rain and course flooding. However, Matt did not let that beat him and rescheduled the entire event, which eventually took place in September 2016 and was a huge success.

For the non-golfers there was also a wide range of social events organized including parties for Halloween, Christmas, New Year and Valentine’s Day, as well as a Cheltenham Gold Cup Race Day, an Ascot Race Day and a Farewell Dinner Dance.

Matt comments, ‘I am so happy to finally be able to present a cheque to The Forever Friends Appeal for £10,000 after all the hard work and fundraising throughout the past 12 months. I am now looking forward to spending more time on the golf course and wish the new Captain John Dardis all the best for the future.’

The Forever Friends Appeal was delighted to recognise Saltford Golf Club as a Community Partner of the Appeal, for raising over £10,000. The Club was recently presented with a plaque at the Appeal’s first Partners Reception Event and will be acknowledged within the build of the new Centre.

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Work of dedicated fundraiser goes on in her memory

This week the Helen Straker Charity announces it has raised an astonishing £80,000 during 2016 in aid of two charities, The Forever Friends Appeal and Dorothy House Hospice Care. Both charities were favourites of Helen Straker, late wife of Gordon Straker, an active fundraiser throughout her life and each received £40,000 at a recent cheque presentation held at The Bear Hotel in Devizes.

This year’s fundraising total by the Helen Straker Charity is an incredible £25,000 above last years total of £55,000 and was raised across the year at a number of events including a golf day and their inaugural Autumn Charity Ball.  The Ball was held on 15th October at the Assembly Rooms in Bath and was a great success with over 220 guests attending from local companies such as Wadworth & Co, Qdos Homes, MJ Church, Royds Withy King, Bath Rugby, Strakers Estate Agents and others.

An auction was the highlight of the evening and was hosted by Andrew Fleming, a Trustee of the Helen Straker Charity.  The auction lots were incredibly generous and featured a weekend charter for ten people on a luxury yacht in Mallorca, a two night stay in Copenhagen, a helicopter flight and stay at Calcot Manor Hotel and a lavish lunch on a 1920’s Belmond British Pullman train. Other lots that got everyone bidding were golf days, rugby and football tickets, a shooting party for six and a cricket bat signed by the 2015 England test team who played in the Ashes against Australia.

Helen Straker was a determined fundraiser for both Dorothy House Hospice and the new Cancer Centre to be built at Bath RUH. After Helen lost her brave fight against cancer in 2013, her husband Gordon Straker continued her impressive fundraising efforts and The Helen Straker Charity was officially registered in 2014. The charity now organise a variety of fundraising events each year including golf days, clay pigeon shoots, dinners, balls and comedy nights.


Gordon Straker, Trustee of the Helen Straker Charity said: “We are proud to have raised so much money for Helen’s two chosen charities this year, her aim in life was always to help others so it is wonderful to be continuing her legacy. Thank you to all the sponsors who supported the charity this year and to everyone who helped us exceed last years total by £25,000.  It’s a great achievement so well done to all involved.”

Jan Witt, In Memory & Legacy Officer, The Forever Friends Appeal said: “We were given such a lovely surprise with the generous cheque presented to us by the Trustees of the Helen Straker Charity towards the RUH Cancer Care Campaign.   Raising such a large sum of money over the year through fundraising events is only possible by sheer hard work, dedication and the commitment of the trustees, together with their family, friends and colleagues that have kindly supported them time and time again. We are truly grateful to everyone for their continued support towards the RUH to help transform care for patients and their families for the future.

Phillippa Watson, Head of Fundraising at Dorothy House Hospice Care said: “We are so grateful for the hard work and fundraising efforts of Gordon Straker and the charity Trustees this year. Dorothy House cared for Helen during her 13 year battle with cancer and we’re proud to be a beneficiary of the Helen Straker Charity.  Congratulations to the charity for raising such a lot of funds in 2016, it is much appreciated during our 40th birthday year and will help Dorothy House continue to provide specialist care for people living with a life-limiting illness.”

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