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Generous donation helps lead the way in the treatment of Lupus

Patients being treated for the debilitating auto-immune illness lupus at the new RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre are to benefit from a £250,000 legacy.

This generous gift was left to our charity in the will of a former patient who wished to make an impact for future patients and invest in further research carried out in this area of work.

The RNHRD, which recently moved from The Mineral Hospital to the RUH’s Combe Park site, is already a designated Centre of Excellence by Lupus UK – one of just seven nationwide.

The hospital has an international reputation for its research into a range of rheumatic conditions, including lupus, and its rheumatology team provides both specialist and general rheumatology services for adults, children and adolescents.

The lupus service is led by three Consultant Rheumatologists, all specialists in autoimmune Connective Tissue Disorders – Dr Ellie Korendowych, Dr Sarah Skeoch and Dr John Pauling, and is supported by two Nurse Specialists, Jaliah Norcott and Sarah Smith as well as specialist Rheumatology therapists.

Dr Korendowych said: “October was national Lupus Awareness Month and this incredibly generous legacy via our hospital charity The Forever Friends Appeal will help us to continue the fantastic work we are doing in lupus research to support our clinical and research programme.

“The RNHRD is the only Lupus UK Centre of Excellence in the south west, something we are extremely proud of and which reflects the hard work and dedication of all our staff.

“Our number one priority is providing high quality care for our patients and research underpins everything that we do. We work closely with Professor Neil McHugh, Honorary Consultant at the RNHRD and Head of the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology at the University of Bath.

“Professor McHugh established the lupus service at the RNHRD and has an international reputation in research into this field. We are planning some exciting research projects in collaboration with the University of Bath to further enhance our knowledge of lupus and the impact it has on our patients.

“We run a dedicated lupus clinic and also work very closely with our colleagues across the RUH, particularly in Obstetrics, Dermatology and Respiratory medicine where we hold combined clinics for our patients with lupus.”

Jane Batchelor (pictured below), who has been treated for lupus at the RNHRD for over 20 years, said: “I’m always impressed with the continuity of care I receive. You are being treated by people who have vast experience in what is quite a rare condition. It’s the same team too – familiar faces who know you and your history. I have to come for infusions every six months and it’s always a very relaxed, low-key, yet professional environment.

“I’m very grateful for the care and support I’ve received over the years at the Mineral Hospital, which I am confident will continue at the new RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre.”

Systemic Lupus is a life-long illness of the immune system, a condition in which the body’s defence mechanism begins to attack itself through an excess of antibodies in the blood stream. This causes inflammation and sometimes damage in the joints, muscles, skin and other organs.

Studies have shown that nearly 1 in a 1000 people living in the UK have Systemic Lupus. Approximately 90% of sufferers are female and it is most common to develop the condition between the ages of 15 and 55.

Gifts in wills are a vital source of funding for the Trust and the work it does in research, trials, medical treatment and caring for its patients., These gifts have underpinned many projects, discoveries and achievements in many of the research programs throughout the hospital’s history, leading to better diagnosis and treatments, and improving patients’ lives not only now but in the future,

By leaving a gift in your will to The Forever Friends Appeal, you can become a part of the journey to understand and help defeat many illnesses – your legacy will be life-changing.

To find out more or talk in confidence about leaving a gift in your will to support future research programmes, please call Jan Witt. Legacy Officer on 01225 825819 or email jan.witt@nhs.net

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Beckington Ball Raises £30,000

Residents of Beckington are celebrating having raised a spectacular £30,000 by holding a Greatest Showman themed ball to raise money for the planned Dyson Cancer Centre which will be built at the Royal United Hospitals Bath.

The ball was organised by a small group of people from Beckington, a small village near Frome, to support friends and members of the Warminster and District RUH Fundraising Group who have been fundraising for the RUH Cancer Care Campaign since 2013.

Chris Weare, Beckington Ball Committee member said:

“We are absolutely thrilled to have raised so much for the RUH Cancer Care Campaign. We wanted to support our dear friend Terry Hickmott who is a long standing supporter of The Forever Friends Appeal and we are delighted that the Beckington Ball has been a huge success again this year.

“I’d like to thank local businesses, including our lead sponsor John Wainwright & Co Ltd for their contribution. Without the volunteers and the overwhelming support from the people of Beckington and the surrounding area, we could not have done it and we hope that this money will help change lives.’’

Special guests on the night included RUH Oncologist Dr Rebecca Bowen and Mark Beresford, Consultant Oncologist and Clinical Lead for Oncology and Haematology who spoke about the value of charitable funding on cancer services at the hospital. An auction then followed, raffling a huge list of fantastic prizes which had been donated by businesses and local supporters.

Since 2015 when the first Beckington Ball was held, over £80,000 has been raised for the RUH Cancer Care Campaign. The Beckington Ball Committee has been welcomed as Principal Community Partners of The Forever Friends Appeal and will be invited to name one of the specialist areas or departments within the new Dyson Cancer Centre.

Lauren Noble, Senior Community Fundraiser, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“On behalf of our charity, I would like to thank Chris, Ang, Dan, Annie, Terry, The Warminster and District RUH Fundraising for working so hard to make this event a success.  Words cannot express how grateful we are for your generosity and dedication which means so much to patients, families and staff at the RUH. We are still completely blown away by what the committee and volunteers were able to achieve and as P.T. Barnum in the Greatest Showman said ‘’the noblest art is that of making others happy.’’ Thank you once again to everyone involved!”


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HRH The Duchess of Cornwall officially opens the new RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre

Staff, patients and guests celebrated the official opening today (Tuesday 22 October) by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, of the new RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre at the RUH.

The Duchess, President of the Royal Osteoporosis Society and Patron of Versus Arthritis, was given a guided tour of the new £20m purpose-built Centre and shown some of its facilities, including the hydrotherapy pool, specialist treatment areas and physiotherapy gyms.

James Scott, Chief Executive of the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We were delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness here again. She has a long association with the Trust as well as being a former patron of the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases. The Duchess is a great supporter of our work and we were very proud to show her the wonderful new facilities we have created here.”

The Duchess was accompanied on her visit by Trust Chair Alison Ryan.  She was introduced to local entrepreneurs Andrew and Christina Brownsword, whose £1m Match Funding Challenge has enabled the hospital charity, The Forever Friends Appeal, to raise  £2m towards the overall cost of the new Centre, with every donation doubled by the Brownsword scheme.

The RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies  Centre brings together therapies and pain services located at the RUH with many of the services previously  located at the RNHRD’s Mineral Water Hospital site, known locally as the ‘Min.’

Uniting staff and services together on one site has been many years in the planning, and the RUH has worked closely with patients and staff to design the best new home for services relocating from the Min.

The Duchess also attended a reception to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Forever Friends Appeal and its raising of over £25m for patient services at the RUH.  She met with donors and volunteers and unveiled plaques to mark the event and officially open the new Centre.

During the reception The Duchess said: “As a past patron of the Min it’s lovely to be able to come here and see what has been done for the new Centre. I’m incredibly impressed by everything – the hydrotherapy pool looked extremely tempting! There seem to be a lot of very happy patients and it has a very welcoming atmosphere. I know that all of you here do so much to raise money for this hospital…so thank you for contributing to this wonderful new building.”

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Christmas Raffle

Enter our Christmas raffle and you could win £1,000*! 

Tickets are now available

A great festive fundraiser, the prizes up for grabs this year are:

1st Prize: £1,000 cash*

Other prizes include:

  • 42″ Smart TV
  • KitchenAid mixer
  • Dyson hairdryer
  • Dinner for two with champagne at The Priory Hotel in Bath
  • Dinner for two at Cloisters, Bailbrook House Hotel in Bath
  • Two grandstand tickets at Bath Racecourse
  • Plus many more!

To request raffle books to sell to friends, family or work colleagues please email us here

To purchase tickets (£1 each) come to the Atrium (RUH main entrance) from 28 November – 19 November. The raffle draw will take place on Thursday 19 December.

The proceeds from this raffle will go towards our Breast Unit Special Appeal where we are aiming to raise £450,000 for the redevelopment and expansion of the unit. For more information about this special appeal, click here.

Raffle rules

Winners of the raffle will be notified via email or telephone on Thursday 19 December 2019. Terms and Conditions apply for each prize. The Forever Friends Appeal accepts no responsibility for lost or damaged entries. Any person found to be under the age of 16 automatically forfeits any prize. No tickets to be sold by, or to, any person on the street.

*The cash prize will be paid by bank transfer only

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Metal detecting rally raises almost £40,000

Over 650 detectorists from across the world travelled to a site near Bath for a charity weekend of metal detecting, raising £11,330 for The Forever Friends Appeal and two other charities, CLIC Sargent and Starlight Children’s Foundation.

The event, dubbed The Rodney Cook Memorial Rally was set up last year by Gary Cook in memory of his dad Rodney who passed away in September 2017. Proceeds from the ticket sales, raffle and extras will go towards the Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign for the planned Dyson Cancer Centre at the Royal United Hospitals Bath.

Gary Cook, member of the Trowbridge and District Metal Detecting Club said:

“My Dad braved a two year battle with cancer and was treated and cared for by staff at the RUH, so we are very proud to have raised this amount in his memory for the Forever Friends Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care campaign.

“There were some great finds over the weekend ranging from Roman, Celtic, Saxon, and medieval and in the two years that we have held this event, we’ve raised over £60,000. Almost £40,000 has gone to The Forever Friends Appeal which I think is a truly fantastic achievement – a great legacy for my late father. I would like to thank everyone, the sponsors, land owners, our friends and family who helped made this event happen.”

In November last year, The Forever Friends Appeal welcomed the Trowbridge and District Metal Detecting Club as Senior Community Partners of the Appeal for their significant contribution towards the RUH Cancer Care campaign.

Lauren Noble, Senior Community Fundraiser, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“When members from our community work together, it’s quite impressive what can be achieved and the Trowbridge and District Metal Detecting Rally is a clear example of that. We would like to thank everyone who had a part to play in the organisation of such a fantastic event. We are incredibly grateful for all their hard work.”

Each charity has received £11,330 and the Trowbridge and District Metal Detecting Club are now looking for a new site for next year’s event. If there are any land owners who would like to help them out, please contact them via their Facebook page The Rodney Cook Memorial Rally

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Community group raises £60,000 for Cancer Centre

A group of dedicated volunteers from Chippenham, Melksham and Calne have raised £60,000 for the planned Dyson Cancer Centre at the Royal United Hospitals (RUH) Bath.

They call themselves the Your Local RUH Cancer Care Fundraising Group and they started fundraising for The Forever Friends Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care campaign in 2012.

Bev Viveash, Chair of the Your Local RUH Fundraising Group said:

“Losing your daughter to cancer is one of the hardest things ever, but I feel so proud of her for inspiring us to continue fundraising. Being part of this community group and raising £60,000 is amazing and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful people along the way.

“We’ve been really busy this summer, we organised a Teddy Tombola at the Trowbridge Active Festival, attended the Lacock Village Fare and the Melksham Food Festival, organised a wonderful BBQ and music event at The George Inn in Lacock as well as organising regular book sales in the RUH.

“Once a month we meet in the Angel Hotel in Chippenham and new members are welcome to join us. Over the years, I have got to know some really lovely people and it’s a great way to spend time doing something positive for a really important cause.”

Lauren Noble, Senior Community Fundraiser said:

‘The generosity and goodwill of our local supporters always astonish us. This group is our longest-standing fundraising group and in 2018 we welcomed them as a principal community partner for raising £50,000. Having reached a total of £60,000 they will be invited to name one of the specialist rooms in the new Dyson Cancer Centre. They are all truly inspiring and I would just like thank of them on behalf of the Appeal for their hard work, commitment and support.”

Fundraising in the fight against cancer never stops, and The Forever Friends Appeal continues its RUH Cancer Care campaign to raise funds for the Dyson Cancer Centre to ensure it achieves the very best care, treatment and quality of environment for patients and their families.

The next Your Local RUH Cancer Care Fundraising Group will be meeting on Thursday 14 November at 7:30pm at The Angel Hotel, Market Place, Chippenham and new members are welcome.

If you have been inspired by Bev and her the rest of the group and would like to find out how to set up your own community group to raise money for the RUH please contact Lauren Noble, Senior Community Fundraiser on 01225 824013 or email: lauren.noble1@nhs.net.


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RUH Critical Care Unit celebrates charity donations

Staff in the RUH Critical Care Unit are celebrating generous charity donations that will help support its major refurbishment project and modernise and further improve patient care.

The hospital’s League of Friends charity has donated £150,000 to The Forever Friends Appeal to install new electronic equipment – called patient service columns – beside each patient’s bed.

The £150,000 target was set by The Forever Friends Appeal when it launched the Critical Care Special Appeal last year, and now it has been exceeded thanks to the League of Friends, local Rotary Clubs and individual donors.

Musician and BBC radio presenter Tom Robinson also raised more than £10,000 from a concert in memory of his band’s guitarist, Danny Kustow, who died in the Unit earlier this year.

The Critical Care team delivers lifesaving treatment to the most unwell and most vulnerable 2% of the RUH patient population. Around 850 patients are treated in the Unit every year, with 87% being discharged to an appropriate ward for continuing care.

A special celebration event was held at the RUH to thank supporters of the Unit, including patients and their families.

Stan Barker, Chair of the RUH League of Friends said: “We decided to donate the full £150,000 after seeing the incredible work the staff do in the unit and the real need for new equipment like the patient service columns.

“I would like to thank all of our staff, our volunteers and the public for helping to raise the money, which is mostly through our café and hospital shop, as well as from donations and legacies.”

Andy Georgiou, Critical Care Lead Consultant said: “Thank you to The Forever Friends Appeal, the League of Friends and all of the supporters for helping to raise the money needed for the refurbishment of our unit.

“This is going to revolutionise patient care here in the RUH through the installation of patient service columns. These columns will house a new clinical information system at the bedside and provide medical equipment, electrical power and gasses from a single convenient point. This means we will have improved access to the patient for emergency or special procedures right when we need it. Electronic data also means we’ll be able to offer much more nursing time to care for our patients.”

Tom Robinson said: “The care my friend Danny received at the RUH was exemplary over a number of years and particularly so in Critical Care in the last days of his life. Staff were so welcoming and personal. Huge thanks to everyone in Critical Care – you deserve all the support you get and more power to your elbow.”


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