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Cancer patients to benefit from generous legacy

A Bath man has left what’s described as a ‘generous’ gift in his Will to help the future care of cancer patients at the Royal United Hospital.

Anthony Alexander, known to his family as Michael and as Alex to his friends and work colleagues, died aged 87 in 2015 from inoperable pancreatic cancer.

His sister Moira said: “My brother used the services of the RUH for over 80 years and has had many reasons to be grateful to the hospital for their care and dedication during this time. They were always there for him, right until the end of his life.


“Michael had made a generous bequest in his will to the hospital’s charity, the Forever Friends Appeal, as he wished to give something back to the hospital as a thank you for all their care over the years, and to enable the medical staff to continue the wonderful work they do in the best environment possible.

“It is very apt that his kindness will benefit patients being treated for cancer, as well as other areas across the hospital. Having the knowledge that my brother’s memory will live on,  through the care of thousands of lives well into the future, provides me with great comfort during those difficult times.”

Jan Witt, In Memory & Legacy officer, said: “I am very much looking forward to showing Moira the plans of the new cancer centre to be built at the RUH, so that she can see first-hand how her brother’s kindness will help to transform the facilities for patients, their families and staff too. I believe she will be immensely proud to see how her brother’s legacy is going to definitely make a difference. We will make sure that his kind support is acknowledged in the most appropriate way within the design of the new build.

“The Appeal is always truly grateful for the compassion of everyone who leaves a gift to the hospital’s charity in their will, whatever its value. Gifts bequeathed in this way are extremely important to help improve the services of the RUH, enabling it to continue to offer the best treatment, delivered by the best staff, with up-to-date facilities and very best medical equipment.”

If you are considering supporting the hospital in this way and would like more information on leaving a gift in your Will or wish to discuss further and in complete confidence , please contact Jan Witt, Legacy Officer on 01225 825819 or email jan.witt@nhs.net.

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Company raises thousands to say thank you

David Broadway, Chairman of CFH Docmail Ltd, a local print and mail company known well for their eco-friendly postal delivery service delivering mail by bicycle, has led his team at CFH to raise well over £25,000 for The Forever Friends Appeal – and has consequently been welcomed on board as a Senior Corporate Partner for the charity.  Each staff member has their own personal reasons for wanting to support the charity based at Bath’s Royal United Hospital, but they are all also inspired by the determination of David, who following a cycling accident in 2015, ran the Vitality Bath Half Marathon just one year later – when he still had trouble bending his legs enough to get his socks on!

In February 2015, David managed to crash his bicycle while racing at a corporate event at the Velodrome in London – breaking his hip and the head of his Femur of his right leg.  David comments:  “The NHS in East London were great.  They put me back together – but as a result I missed running the Bath Half with the CFH team in 2015.  I spent the rest of the year recuperating and trying to recover my fitness and get back to running.  I was determined to run the race again in 2016, to put something back into the NHS – both in gratitude for fixing me, but also in memory and tribute to the good friends that I have lost recently.  I think it is likely that every family in Britain has been touched by cancer to a greater or lesser degree.  The past few years have been particularly bad for myself and the team at CFH, as we lost a number of good friends, colleagues and ex-colleagues.”

Having supported the charity since 2010, CFH Docmail Ltd are therefore thrilled to have now raised an astounding £34,000 to help build a state-of-the-art new Cancer Centre for the hospital.  To acknowledge the company for surpassing their £25,000 target, the Appeal are delighted to welcome CFH Docmail Ltd on board as a Senior Corporate Partner.

All companies who raise over £25,000 for the Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign, are acknowledged as Senior Corporate Partners, and are given the exclusive opportunity to name a room in the pioneering new Cancer Centre, as well as receiving a Senior Corporate Partnership plaque to display in their office.

David continues: “We attended an event recently to receive a plaque commemorating CFH’s Senior Corporate Partnership status, and I must say that I was humbled by the people there. The incredible selflessness of people who had lost loved ones, but were putting so much back into the RUH made CFH’s efforts seem small. Seeing what others can achieve encourages all of us at CFH to try and do more.”

23 CFH employees have signed up to join David and take on the Vitality Bath Half Corporate Challenge in 2017.  Many of them have run the race in previous years, whilst for others this will be the first time they have set themselves the 13.1mile challenge.

Head of Fundraising for The Forever Friends Appeal, Tim Hobbs, comments: “We are delighted to welcome CFH Docmail on board as a Senior Corporate Partner for The Forever Friends Appeal and would like to thank the company for being so passionately committed to helping improve the Cancer facilities here at the RUH. Raising this amount is a truly incredible achievement, so as our way of saying thank you, we are really pleased to be able to offer the company the chance to name a room in the new Cancer Centre.  Their support will therefore be acknowledged for many years to come.”

For more information about supporting The Forever Friends Appeal, visit our corporate pages. If your company is interested in supporting the charity in 2017, please contact Corporate Officer Jo Common on 01225 825392.

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Midsomer Norton RUH Fundraising Group Cycle for Cancer Care

The Midsomer Norton RUH Fundraising Group had a fantastic time cycling for The Forever Friends Appeal, the primary fundraising charity for the Royal United Hospital (RUH), Bath. On the 11th February, the group completed another Charity Spinathon Challenge at Tesco in Keynsham. Proceeds from these fundraising events will be donated to the RUH Cancer Care Campaign – helping to build a pioneering new Cancer Centre at the RUH.

The group put on their trainers for a Charity Spinathon and cycled from 9am to 4pm, with a handful of volunteers taking turns on the bike. As generous shoppers watched and donated, the team sweated their way to making an amazing £657.72!

This is a local group of volunteers who have come together to do something really special to help those affected by cancer. They meet once a month at Welton Rovers Football Club in Midsomer Norton to organize fundraising activities around the local area. This lovely group is looking for more members to help them raise even more funds towards this worthwhile cause. If you would like to find out more about the group, and how you can get involved, contact Claudia Hickin, Community Fundraiser at The Forever Friends Appeal, on 01225 825825 or claudia.hickin@nhs.net.

Claudia comments, ‘The Midsomer Norton RUH Fundraising Group are absolutely fantastic, and we are so grateful for their dedicated support to the Cancer Care Campaign. Despite being a small group, they are hardworking and committed and achieve amazing things. It’s exciting to see what else they will achieve in 2017!’

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Bradford on Avon RUH Fundraising Group raise over £2000 at Cake Sale

The Bradford on Avon RUH Fundraising Group donned their aprons and put on their oven gloves to bake mountains of cake for a cake sale in aid of The Forever Friends Appeal’s Cancer Care Campaign at the Royal United Hospital.

After a busy day’s work in the hospital Atrium, volunteers and Appeal staff alike were astonished to realise that the cake sale had raised an amazing total of £2161.18 – a new record for an Appeal Hospital Cake Sale – beating the previous title holders by over £500!

The group is made up of a number of local volunteers who have come together to support their local hospital and help to transform care for thousands of local patients and their families in their time of need.

The group was established in May 2016, and has already raised a fantastic £900, from a Bridge and Mahjong afternoon, towards the Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign, raising funds towards the build of a pioneering new Cancer Centre at the RUH. This Campaign has a minimum target of £8.5 million, and to date has raised an amazing £7.7 million thanks to the generous support of the local community.

In February, supports of this inspiring group rallied around, baking hundreds of cakes, from delicious lemon drizzle cakes, to beautiful cupcakes displayed on a cake stand. Supportive local businesses also donated sweet treats and packaging to the group, including Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s, Co-Op, The Weaving Shed, The Bridge Tea Rooms, The Boston Tea Party, Chando’s Deli, Cake Café, Whiteley Helywar, Mr. Salvat’s Coffee Shop, Jeremy Jenkins, Cooper and Tanner and Darling Interiors.

Sue Gilby, Chair of the Bradford on Avon RUH Fundraising Group said, ‘We are a group of nine who live in or around Bradford-on-Avon and have been personally involved in  receiving treatment or supporting relatives in the present cancer unit. We had a plan to raise over £1000 from our Cake Sale so between us we baked (and cajoled our friends and relatives to bake) and approached local businesses in Bradford-on-Avon and Bath to donate.

We were pleased at the support from businesses and would like to thank them all very much. It was with their help that we achieved the amazing sum of money.

We are also grateful for the friends who came and helped us on the day; we definitely needed them as we were so busy! A special thanks to Sian for standing outside all day guiding people to the sale and collecting over £200 in her bucket!

We were delighted by the generosity of the public who bought cakes, often donating more than asked for. As Chair I would like to thank the team for all of their efforts and hard work on the day to make it fun and such a success’

Claudia Hickin, Community Fundraiser for The Forever Friends Appeal comments, ‘The group are so inspiring and we cannot thank them enough for their hard work and commitment. They are always open to new members getting involved; whether it’s brainstorming at committee meetings, helping at events or helping with finances/admin – everyone is welcome and much needed’

For further information, please contact Claudia Hickin, Community Fundraiser on 01225 825825.

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It’s not how fast you run, it’s about getting out there and doing it

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 focusing on CFH Graphic Designer

Samantha Davies…….

“I’d never even been to watch the Bath half before running it for the first time in 2016. It was a personal challenge I wanted to take to raise money for a worthwhile cause and improve my fitness.

Not knowing what to expect, I felt sick with nerves on race day but once I started the atmosphere was so good I actually really enjoyed it. I had always looked at other runners and thought that there was no way I’d be able to run that far (I struggled to run for a bus) so it was a real achievement getting that medal at the finish line; and knowing that people had sponsored me really kept me going.

I’ve made a lot of lovely friends whilst training by joining local free running groups – I find it really helps me do extra miles when you’re busy chatting away, and the encouragement from others is invaluable. They’ve taught me that it doesn’t matter how fast you run, it’s about getting out there and doing it.

This year I’ve decided to run again as an incentive to keep me pounding the pavements in the winter months and add to the donations for cancer care. My aim is to hopefully feel less nervous on race day, finish in one piece!!… and if I put in a PB that’ll be a bonus”

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Local Solicitors Will the community to support their local hospital

The Forever Friends Appeal has gained a welcome boost to its funds with the news that the RUH Will Month fundraising initiative ran throughout the month of September raised an incredible £31,350.00 to help towards the care of patients at the Royal United Hospital (RUH) and the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic diseases (RNHRD).

The annual fundraising scheme enlists the support of local firms of solicitors who, through their generosity, waived their usual fee and reduced the cost of their professional will writing services which they donated towards the hospital’s charity, The Forever Friends Appeal. The initiative offers the general public the opportunity to have a Will drawn up professionally at a reduced cost, with a single standard Will for £100 or standard Mirror Wills at £150.00.

Since the scheme was first introduced in September 2015 it has raised an amazing total of  £65,000 to help fund projects that make a real difference to the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients cared for by the Trust each year.

Jan Witt, Legacy Officer RUH explains “RUH Will Month has been very valuable to the appeal  since we first introduced it. Not only does it raise significant funds towards the work we do helping to fund projects and equipment for all areas across the hospitals, but provides a yearly reminder to the public, to focus on getting their affairs in order and sort out the things that are likely to matter most to them after they die.  Taking part in the scheme not only helps to put their affairs in order providing them with peace of mind, but also an opportunity for them to support their local hospital.

Jan continues ”We are very appreciative of the generous support given to us by local solicitors who work extremely hard to help as many people as possible to draw up thousands of Wills throughout the month of September. The Appeal is extremely grateful to the following organisations; Ames Kent Solicitors, Awdry Bailey & Douglas, BLB, Burningham & Brown, Farnfields, FDC Law, Forrester Sylvester Mackett, Harris & Harris, Helen Starkie solicitor, Mowbray Woodwards, Mogers Drewett, Thatcher & Hallam LLP, Wards and Royds Withy King solicitors.” The success of the amount raised this year is a testament of their sheer hard work, together with the generosity of the public who came forward to have their Wills written under the scheme. We would like to thank each and every one of them.”

Jan Witt continues, “The charity, relies on donations and gifts in Wills to help the RUH to continue to provide the very best treatment, medical equipment and facilities for all the patients it cares for across Bath, Somerset, Wiltshire and further afield. This annual scheme is an ideal way to raise awareness of the importance of having an up to date Will, with the opportunity for the public to choose and support a specific area of the hospital’s work; now and in the future. We are so pleased and overwhelmed with the response again this year and we hope that September 2017 will be just as successful!”

If you are thinking about updating or making a Will and would like to receive an information leaflet to the scheme for this year, please contact Jan Witt on 01225 825819 or email jan.witt@nhs.net.

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Interactive Workshop competition winners

Two lucky schools have this week had a visit from BuroHappold Engineers to present the children with an engineering challenge!

Melksham Oak Community School in Wiltshire and St Michael’s Junior School in Bath were both lucky winners of the Ted’s Big Bake Off Interactive Workshop competition.  Back in October, both schools took part in the Appeal’s annual fundraising week, Ted’s Big Bake Off, to raise funds for the RUH.


St Michael’s Junior School raised the most money for the Appeal (through a parents and children’s cake sale, mufti day and school disco!) and Melksham Oak were judged to have had the ‘most fun’ at their bake sale – resulting in both schools winning an exclusive 1 hour interactive schools workshop, run by BuroHappold Engineering – our Ted’s Big Bake Off sponsors.

During the workshops, students learnt all about what it means to be an engineer, by taking on a “Hold back the flood” challenge.  Here are a few photos from St Michael’s Workshop – check out all the clever ideas the children had to help keep lego man dry from the flood water!

Huge thanks goes out to both schools for their incredible support of the fundraising day and to our wonderful sponsors, BuroHappold Engineering!


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Brownsword charity gives £1m to RUH campaign backed by Martin Roberts and Stephanie Millward

Sporting stars and celebrities have backed a new fundraising campaign at the Royal United Hospital – which is already £1million on its way thanks to the generosity of a local family.

I’m A Celebrity TV star Martin Roberts is among those to get involved as the public are now being asked to help raise the remaining money for a new outpatient centre.

Through their charitable foundation, business couple Andrew and Christina Brownsword have pledged to match £1m worth of donations for the Forever Friends Appeal’s new “RNHRD and Therapies Centre” Campaign, which was launched on Tuesday morning.

Andrew Brownsword was joined by appeal ambassadors at the existing RUH Therapies Department, as well as RUH staff and patients.

Among the ambassadors supporting the campaign are Olympian Sharron Davies and Paralympic medallists Stephanie Millward and Ben Rushgrove.

The campaign wants to raise more than £2million towards the building of the new centre, described as a “purpose-built outpatient facility which will provide treatment, care and education for patients to recover from episodes of illness or injury, or to manage their long-term condition.”

Visiting the existing hydrotherapy pool on Tuesday morning, 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, 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.”

Why is it needed?

Gina Sargeant, head of therapies at the RUH and Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, 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.”


Tim Hobbs, head of fundraising at the Forever Friends Appeal, said: “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.”

Two people with special reason to back the campaign tell their stories

Nic Noble explains why the RNHRD & Therapies Centre means so much to her…

“Nearly 18 years ago I had my beautiful daughter, Alice. My husband and I already had two boys; Jake, nine, and Lewis, seven. Little did I know or expect that three weeks later I would be in the Royal United Hospital with a deep vein thrombosis.

“The consultant gave me the medication I had to inject every morning and the thrombosis would be disbursed. Unfortunately as this was happening, the medication was slowly eating away my vertebrae. It was becoming increasingly difficult to pick up Alice, look after the boys, look after our home, and our business, as we are self-employed.

“By April, during the Easter holidays, I collapsed and was taken into the RUH. I was able to keep Alice with me in a side ward with the help of my mum, sister and mother-in-law. An MRI scan unveiled six of my vertebrae had collapsed and I was diagnosed with osteoporosis. I was referred to Dr Bhalla at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD, or the Min). The Min were fantastic – Dr Bhalla, the physios and the hydro pool team gave me the support I needed for my recovery.

“The following year my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer; after chemo and having both her breasts removed, she decided raising money would be the way for us to go! So she trained for the Bath Half and we trained to walk marathons. She did a wing walk and I shaved her hair. Then the cancer was found in her lungs and she explained to me it was my turn to run!

“We had also approached The Forever Friends Appeal about a walk we wanted to do around the hospital’s catchment area and Tim said yes. Our first walk was in 2006, raising £40,000. In 2007, I trained and completed the Bath Half and the London Marathon with Nessa’s relentless encouragement.

“Ness was very poorly around the time of the second walk but asked me to promise to carry on raising money for a new Cancer Centre. Sadly, in the November, Ness passed away, but her legacy lives on. The walks to date have raised over £300,000. Without the Mineral Hospital, I would never have been able to keep my last promise to Ness.

“The RNHRD & Therapies Centre will help so many more patients like me. At a time when you are frightened, in pain and need fantastic support, this new facility will provide a positive and nurturing environment.

“This is a wonderful project to provide bigger and better facilities that will help so many people in our community.”

Richard Hayes, a 44-year-old hydrotherapy patient, also has good reason to back this campaign…

“I have always been fit and illness free, but in the spring of 2016 began suffering with balance issues. An MRI scan showed I had an aggressive spinal tumour in the thoracic spine which was destroying bone and squashing the spinal cord.

“The team at the RUH were fantastic in diagnosing this and then sent me to Oxford spinal unit where I stayed for a month. During this time I had sclerotherapy which has stopped the tumour growing, although subsequent scans have shown it is the same size as it was in July so I am having regular visits to Oxford spinal for assessment.


“They can operate but there are risks involved due to its position and that it is squashing the spinal cord. I have an MRI and clinic scheduled for February, so a decision on what happens next will be made then.

“My recovery has been good as I have gone from a wheelchair, to zimmer frame, to sticks to nothing. If you look at me now you will see me walking well, although I do still have balance issues and do struggle on slopes and in busy environments. Running or riding a bike are completely out of the question at the moment.

“The physiotherapy I have received in Oxford and Bath has been a great help, but more than anything, the course of hydrotherapy has shown the most dramatic success. The weekly 30 minute session has helped greatly and has also given me exercises to do myself in a swimming pool to help my strength and balance.

“I have three boys (7, 5 and 3) so a full recovery would be wonderful to allow me to run, ride a bike etc with them; the last seven months have been difficult but with the support of my wife, we’ve got through it and hope continued improvement and shrinkage or removal of the tumour will follow over the next few months.

“During my time in hospital I have received amazing care from all the doctors, nurses and support staff and I wish the Forever Friends Appeal all the best in being able to raise the funds for this amazing project.”

How do I get involved?

As well as making instant donations by phone, post or online, an instant donation can be made by texting TFFA17 £10 to 70070. Visit www.foreverfriendsappeal.co.uk to donate online.

Fundraising events such as Fire and Ice Walk in March and the Walk of Life in May will also contribute and members of the public are invited to organise their own events as well.

Mr Hobbs added: “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, March 5, to kick start their fundraising efforts.”



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