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Brownsword Family ‘make a splash’ with one million reasons to support new RNHRD and Therapies Centre

Celebrities, doctors, nurses, therapists and patients made a huge splash at the Royal United Hospitals (RUH) today to mark a £1 million pledge from business couple Andrew and Christina Brownsword and their Charitable Foundation to launch The Forever Friends Appeal’s new RNHRD and Therapies Centre” Campaign.

As the primary charity at Bath’s Royal United Hospitals, the Appeal and their new campaign aims to raise a total of over £2 million to support the building of a new, state-of-the-art RNHRD and Therapies Centre. This purpose built outpatient facility will provide treatment, care and education for patients to recover from episodes of illness or injury, or to manage their long-term condition.  The Brownsword family have promised to match £1 million worth of donations from the public and other donors to help raise this total – through “The Brownsword Challenge”.

Andrew Brownsword, visiting the hydrotherapy pool in the existing RUH Therapies Department today met Appeal Ambassadors, staff and patients and launched the new Campaign.  Mr Brownsword said:   “By establishing this ‘Brownsword Match Funding Challenge’ we want to ensure that every pound the public donates is matched with another pound from us to help the Appeal reach its target.  After hearing patient experiences such as Nic Noble’s, we were compelled to get involved.  Please join us in raising as much as possible to ensure this new Centre, so important to the most effective and best possible care of patients and their families, takes shape over the next two years”.

Brownsword photo

Appeal Ambassadors, Para-Olympic medallists Stephanie Millward and Ben Rushgrove, together with TV presenter Martin Roberts, all lent their support to the Match Funding Challenge today.  The Celebrities, all used to challenges of their own, encouraged the public to support the fundraising Campaign for this important new building.

The RNHRD and Therapies Centre building will house Rheumatology, Therapies and a number of Pain Management Services under one roof, bringing together RUH services and services relocated from the RNHRD (Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases).

Gina Sargeant, Head of Therapies at the RUH and RNHRD said:  “We’re creating a nurturing environment with dedicated specialist facilities for our patients. Designed in conjunction with staff and patients, the Centre will include a large hydrotherapy pool, specialist gym and rehabilitation equipment, and a Biologics treatment space to support treatment, recovery, wellbeing and the management of long-term conditions. The expertise, heritage and international reputation of the RNHRD will combine with a local reputation for excellent care, leading to the provision of a unique facility at District General Hospital level for the benefit of thousands of people across Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire”.

Dr Raj Sengupta, Consultant Rheumatologist at the RNHRD said:  “The numerous services planned to be collocated in the new building are not always as high in public profile as say some treatments for Cancer.  However, if you are one of the 75,000 people that will be treated in the new RNHRD and Therapies Centre, they are essential to the nurturing of your recovery or treatment – they are fundamental to nearly all patient ‘journeys’ through the hospital.”

The Forever Friends Appeal are thrilled by the support given by the Brownsword Family and its Charitable Foundation.  Tim Hobbs Head of Fundraising commented:  “Our current facilities for these services are costly to maintain and update in order to meet modern healthcare standards.  They are also too dispersed across the hospital and on two different sites. This situation does not complement or help facilitate the hospital’s aims for achieving the highest quality of clinical care.  Therefore the generous support we have received from the Brownsword family is absolutely vital to our patients.  We hope it will encourage the public to get involved and help us reach our target of £2million which will complement the circa £14 million being invested in the building from NHS sources”.

Mr Hobbs continues:  “The public’s charitable donations working in partnership with NHS funding are really important – they enable the clinicians and project managers to ‘think out of the box’, innovate, and make our facilities really special for patients here at the RUH.  There are many ways to get involved – the Brownsword Match Funding Challenge will maximise the impact of people’s efforts, such as our Therapies Staff taking part in the Appeal’s Fire and Ice Walk on Sunday 5th March to kick start their fundraising efforts.  Here are a few more……”.

  • Make a donation in person, by phone, online or by post using the form in this newspaper
  • Take part in one of our many events throughout the year and designate your sponsorship, eg The Fire and Ice Walk, Sun 5th March or The Walk of Life, Sat 13th
  • Organise an event with colleagues, a group or club
  • Make a gift in memory of a loved one
  • Set up a Tribute Fund
  • Get your workplace involved as charity of the year
  • Join our Community or Corporate Partnership schemes
  • Leave a gift in your will
  • Text TFFA17 £10 to 70070 and instantly make a donation
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John Cleese supports the ‘Brick’ fundraising scheme at the RUH

Comedian, actor and writer, John Cleese, has come on board to show his support and raise awareness about the opportunity to help build a premium Cancer Centre at the Royal United Hospitals in Bath. Together with his wife, Jenny, who both have strong connections to Bath, they have recently become Ambassadors for The Forever Friends Appeal, RUH Cancer Care Campaign and are now encouraging individuals, companies and groups to support the ‘Be a Brick’ fundraising scheme and ‘Buy a Brick’ to help make the building extra special.

Appeal Ambassador, John Cleese says “I am so happy to support this amazing cause. Please show your support and buy a virtual brick, row or wall for the new building. This pioneering Cancer Centre will transform the care of so many patients and their families across the region.”

John continues “When you live in a small city like Bath you see where your money goes and how it makes a difference. That is something that doesn’t happen in bigger cities like London, it all gets lost there. Here people see the improvements that have been made, which is why I think so many people support the appeal.”

Since being launched in 2013 by the actress Brenda Blethyn, the ‘Be a Brick’ scheme has raised an amazing over £200,000 and continues to provide a fun way to support the RUH Cancer Care Campaign.

In return for purchasing a virtual brick for £10, supporters will receive a ‘Be a Brick’ certificate and the knowledge that they will be helping to transform care for cancer patients, families and their carers. Those who choose to purchase a virtual ‘Row’ for £100 or ‘Wall’ for £1000, will also receive an acknowledgement of their chosen name within the design of the new building. Local businesses are being encouraged to buy a ‘Wall’ and join the ‘Brick Wall Club‘ – giving each company a chance to win a room-naming opportunity within the new Cancer Centre.

Look out for an information Leaflet of how to purchase your very own brick/s which is being delivered to your doorstep. If you would like more details about the ‘Be a Brick’ scheme, the Brick Wall Club or the RUH Cancer Care Campaign, visit our ‘be a Brick’ page or call The Forever Friends Appeal office on 01225 825691. There are also brightly-coloured cardboard collection boxes available which are the perfect size to pop onto a local shop counter, or to display at work or at home – ready to save those pennies and pounds to buy bricks! People are being encouraged together with other members of their families, groups or colleagues to fill enough boxes for a row or even a wall.

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Brother’s Braving the Bath Half for dad…. ‘Wood’ you to?

The Wood’s brothers Sam, Tom and Joe have signed up to take on the 2017 Vitality Bath Half Marathon to remember their dad, who was cared for by RUH ITU last year. They’ll be battling it out on the 12 March for first place, here’s why they’re doing it in Sam’s own words:

“My Brothers (Tom & Joe) and myself are running the Bath Half 2017 in memory of our amazing Dad, Adrian Wood, who very sadly and suddenly passed away in May 2016 at the Royal United Hospital (RUH) in Bath. 

During his two weeks in the RUH Critical Care Unit, our Dad received the best care possible from a dedicated and compassionate team and although he was desperately unfortunate not to survive, our entire family were with him throughout the entirety of his time there and are immensely grateful for the devoted care and unyielding efforts of the team at the RUH. We are forever thankful to the friends and family who have supported the Wood family with their love and kindness this past year.

Having lived and schooled/worked in Bath for a number years, the Wood boys felt that the Bath Half 2017 was a great opportunity to raise awareness (and hopefully some money!) for the RUH Critical Care Unit and the wider Forever Friends Appeal.

As us boys are immensely competitive, we know that on race day it will be our aim to out-do one another’s performance as our Dad watches on to see which of the Wood boys finish 1, 2 and 3!”

The brothers are so close to their fundraising target of £1,000 so if you’d like to support their race for pole position, please visit their Just Giving page here: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thewoodsrunbathhalf

Inspired by the Wood’s boys (I know we are!)? We have a very limited number of charity places still available for the 13.1 mile city race, taking place on Sunday 12th March – please visit our BHM Page. General entries have completely sold out, so this is your last chance to be part of what is set to be a memorable day. Our places cost £35 and all we ask is that you try and raise a minimum sponsorship of £175 to support patients at the RUH when they need it most. Places will close on 2nd February, unless we sell out before!

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I Remember the hugs the nurses gave, they meant alot

Daughter to thank RUH staff for father’s “amazing” care by taking part in the Fire & Ice Walk.

Rebecca Harrison, aged 30, is set to face her fears by taking part in The Forever Friends Appeal’s “Fire & Ice Walk”. The Forever Friends Appeal are the primary charity for the RUH, whose RUH Cancer Care Campaign is currently raising a minimum of £8.5 million towards the build of an exceptional new Cancer Centre at the hospital.

On Sunday 5th March, Rebecca will walk over 15ft of crushed glass, followed by a path of embers smoldering at over 800 degrees, to thank Oncology staff at Bath’s Royal United Hospital for the “amazing care” of her late father, Kevin Harrison.

Rebecca, who lives in Frome, explains: “My Dad was diagnosed with a brain tumour in April 2005, just a few weeks after his 50th birthday. He received radiotherapy treatment at the RUH which is where he was also cared for after contracting an infection. Sadly this proved too much for his body to cope with. My Dad died on the 28th December 2005 aged 50, at the RUH.”

Rebecca continues, “The care given to both my Dad and my family at the RUH was outstanding. We knew that he was dying and were at the hospital for several hours; during this time, the nurses made us drinks, gave us biscuits and looked after Dad so we could all be there together when he died. I remember the hugs the nurses gave, they meant a lot.”


Rebecca last supported the Appeal in 2015, when she took part in the charity’s first Firewalk and raised over £300 for the RUH Cancer Care Campaign. Rebecca says, “I decided to take part in the Appeal’s 2015 Firewalk as it was held in March; Dad would have been 60 in 2015 so I did the walk for him and to raise money for an amazing hospital ward, where the staff always help to keep the spirits up of patients and families and to give them the best”.

The Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign has now raised £7.6 million towards its minimum £8.5 million target, which will contribute vital funds to the building of a pioneering new Cancer Centre at Bath’s Royal United Hospital, whose staff provided care for Rebecca’s father during his treatment.

In 2017, the Appeal is adding a special twist to their annual Firewalk – glass walking, for that extra thrill! Their new “Fire & Ice Walk”, which will take place on Sunday 5th March at Bath Recreational Ground, is not for the faint hearted and will challenge participants to walk barefoot on razor-sharp pieces of broken glass, before heading over to brave a path of red-hot coals.

Emily Lynch, Events Officer at Appeal says: “We are so grateful to Rebecca for braving the blaze AND conquering the cold in support of the RUH Cancer Care Campaign. We’re now looking for other brave individuals to join us and Rebecca for a once in a lifetime experience to help transform patient care at the RUH!”

The Forever Friends Appeal’s Fire & Ice event is being organized by Survivorbility, experts in Fire and Glass Walking. The entry fee for the event is £30 and all entrants are expected to raise a minimum of £100 in sponsorship towards the Cancer Care Campaign, or an RUH ward or department of their choice.

fire & Ice advert

Emily continues: “Fire and Ice Walks teach you to put mind over matter and face your fears! Firewalks blend a combination of no-nonsense, easily explainable scientific principles with proven motivational skills, it will take participants to a level of such unbridled euphoric excitement that they will not just want to walk on fire, they will want to start smashing through their previously ‘impossible’ life barriers. The way to walk on glass is exactly the opposite of the way in which to walk on hot coals; glass demands slow, focused moments of extreme concentration. This practice teaches us to pay attention and commit 100% to every life experience.”

Rebecca explains: “Why am I taking part again this year? Simple: I want to continue to help improve the lives of cancer patients and their families by helping to fund a fantastic new Centre. One thing I have learnt is that life can be short and that it can be scary, which is why it’s good to challenge yourself! When things are tough, you can turn around and say “If I can walk on fire – and glass! – I can do anything!”

If you would like to join Rebecca and take part in the Fire & Ice Walk there are still places left!  For a “smashing” time, sign up online by visiting our Fire & ice page or call 01225 821535 for more information.

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Sam wants to thank the RUH for the care they have given his family….

23 brave employees from CFH Docmail, based in Radstock, have signed themselves up to take on the Bath Half Corporate Challenge in March. The team have many various reasons for supporting the RUH, so every few weeks we are going to focus on one of the CFH team members – so you can read all about how their training is going and why they have chosen to raise funds for the hospital.

This week we are talking to Sam Selway…

“I first ran the Bath half marathon in 2011 and I’ve run it every year since. 2017 will be my seventh Bath Half.

I only started running when the gym was put in here at CFH. I wanted to use the treadmill purely because I’d never been on one before!  Sometime during the summer of 2010 I decided I would enter 2011 Bath Half to try to raise some money for a charity group my mother-in-law was involved with. I had no idea what to expect but to my surprise I actually enjoyed it and I’ve not missed one yet.

I’ve always been determined to run under 1hr 35mins before I’m 40 and as my 40th is two weeks after the race this will be my last chance! My best so far is 1hr 36mins.

The last few times I’ve run as part of the CFH team because of the support for the RUH. A few years ago my mother-in-law was diagnosed with two forms of cancer and the treatment and help she received from the RUH was fantastic. So to run a few miles to help raise some much needed funds is a no-brainer for me. Although, thankfully she’s fine now I still want to try to do my bit for such a great cause.

[alertinfo]Want to run the Bath Half like Sam? Why not sign up and run for the RUH here[/alertinfo]

I don’t really stick to a specific training program, I just run………. And then run some more. I just build up the distance and then speed it up. I always like to get a 10 miler in before Christmas!

It’s a great way to keep yourself going through the winter and it gives you a goal to aim for. If anyone is thinking about giving it a go I would strongly recommend it. I’m looking forward to it already…………………”

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Your Local RUH Cancer Care Group are seeking new members

On 26th January 2017, the Your Local RUH Cancer Care Fundraising Group, based across Chippenham, Melksham and Calne, will be holding an information event about how they fundraise for the RUH and how the local community can get involved at Sheldon School Conference Centre. The group has raised a phenomenal £32,000 towards The Forever Friends Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign and is now a Community Partner of the Cancer Centre, entitling them to a naming opportunity within the new building. This amazing donation will help fund the build of a pioneering new Cancer Centre at the RUH, and will aid in transforming the cancer care for thousands of local people and their families.

The Your Local Group is the oldest of The Forever Friends Appeal’s committed Community Groups, with their initial launch in November 2012. The members of the group are all volunteers who have been affected by cancer in some way, and want to do something positive to help those around them dealing with a similar situation. As the group continues to raise more and more money, they are in need of further support and fundraising ideas to help them reach their new target of £50,000.

The group raises their money in various ways, from hosting coffee mornings, wine tasting evenings and garden parties to bucket collections, quizzes and craft sales. They also attend lots of local events, including Chippenham Folk Festival, Melksham Food and River Festival and Melksham Town Christmas Lights Switch On.

Chair of the group, Bev Viveash, became involved with the group through her daughter Nic.  Whilst Nic was having treatment for cancer at the RUH they both became aware of the campaign to raise money for the new Cancer unit, and planned a coffee morning to help raise funds.  During her treatment, Nic began organising and planning what turned into a full day garden party and was thrilled to raise over £1,700! Sadly Nic passed away a few months after this, aged just 28 years old, but always encouraged her mum to continue with the fundraising to enable other patients to have better surroundings during their treatment.

Bev says ‘The team and the care Nic received in the cancer unit were fantastic but the facilities desperately need updating.   Space for patients to be told the devastating news they have cancer, space for their family and private areas for when it’s needed’.

If you would be interested in getting involved with this inspiring group, please call Claudia Hickin, Community Fundraiser at The Forever Friends Appeal, on 01225 824013.

Claudia comments, ‘Having just started working with the Your Local Group, they have amazed me with their commitment to raising funds for the new Cancer Centre and the money that they have raised so far is inspiring. The group put the ‘fun’ into fundraising and always do their best to raise as much money as they can for a campaign that is so close to their hearts. I cannot wait to see what they achieve this year, especially with the presence of new members! I encourage anyone who is interested to get in touch or come along to the meeting on the 26th of January. Not only will you be helping a very worthwhile local cause, but you will meet people with similar interests, and have lots of fun along the way’

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