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Two wheels for our NHS heroes

Thirty brand new bikes arrived today (Friday 1 May) at the Royal United Hospitals Bath as a special gift for our NHS heroes. The bikes were donated by BW Cycling, a Bristol-based company that wanted to help staff get to work during the coronavirus pandemic.

They will make a huge difference to staff who have been struggling to get to work on public transport because of reduced services and social distancing guidelines. The Trust organised a free draw and invited colleagues who would benefit of having a bike and the lucky winners were selected at random.

Andy Wadsworth, Co-owner of BW Cycling said:

“We are a small privately owned bike shop which can’t make ventilators or PPE but we have bikes to make transport easier. When we heard stories of frontline NHS staff working long shifts with some walking for over an hour to get to work and back because of reduced public transport and being unable to get a lift share, we thought we could help.

“We are very fortunate to have strong client relationships with local companies and Creo Medical has been very supportive in helping fund 100 bikes for NHS staff.  We’ve donated 50 bikes to RUH staff, the remaining 20 will be delivered next week and donated another 50 to staff at Southmead. It’s been a bit challenging with the logistics and social distancing but we’ve done it, much easier in comparison to what many NHS staff are having to deal with on a daily basis.”

As well as donating the bikes, the lucky winners also received a helmet, lights and a bike lock to ensure they can cycle safely.

Ben Ellis was entered into the draw by his colleagues Ashleigh Farmer and Zoe Lockton who work with him in the Emergency Department. When he found out he was a winner, he said: “Winning a bike was a big surprise as I did not know about the offer. I feel very privileged and look forward to being able to ride to work.”

Another winner, Jo Smith, Clinical Dietitian who lives in Southstoke said: “This will certainly help my journey to work – it’s either over an hour’s walk or try and catch two buses!”

The Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust would like to thank all businesses for their continued support of our staff and patients during this challenging time. Any businesses looking to make a donation should contact the hospital’s charity The Forever Friends Appeal by email: forever.friends@nhs.net before making any deliveries.

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Ed Jackson climbs Mount Everest…at home

Inspired by Captain Tom Moore who has raised millions for NHS Charities Together, Ed Jackson, former professional rugby player has set out to raise £10,000 for our charity and two others by climbing the equivalent of Mount Everest on his parents’ staircase.

We are in awe of what he’s set out to do and we wish him the best of luck with this challenge as we know Ed well. He was cared for at the RUH three years ago following an accident which left him with a broken neck. At the time he was told that he may not walk again, but after a gruelling recovery and rehabilitation at three different hospitals including the RUH, he made an amazing recovery and became one of our Therapies Matters ambassadors.

Ed said: “I managed to ditch the walker two years ago and despite my disability I have developed a weird obsession with climbing and I hope to be the first quadriplegic to climb Mount Everest. Obviously I can’t get to the mountains but I’ve decided to bring one here. I’m not really sure how much I’ve bitten off but those of you who have seen any of my climbing blogs before will know that thanks to my disability stairs are my nemesis.”

During the four day challenge, which started today (Tuesday 21 April), Ed will wear of the kit that he will take with him when he is able to travel to the Himalayas and will walk up and down the staircase 2,783 times, that’s 89,000 sets of individual steps.

Ed continued: “The money raised will be shared with The Forever Friends Appeal in support of the NHS. The incredible people of the NHS saved my life and got me back on my feet three years ago and now they’re making that difference for many more.

“Any donation no matter how small is massively appreciated because all of our charities need support at the moment and I hope together we can raise enough to make a real difference for these three.”

The other two charities that are close to Ed’s heart and will also receive a share of the funds are Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation and the Neverest Orthopaedics Foundation.

Ed hopes to finish the challenge around 6pm on Friday 24 April and we’ll be there to help him complete the last few flights of stairs.

If you would like to show your support to Ed, donations can be made at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/edjackson8

You can stay up to date with Ed’s progress by following him on Twitter and on Instagram.


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RUH granted planning permission for new Dyson Cancer Centre

We are delighted to hear that The Royal United Hospitals (RUH) Bath NHS Foundation Trust has been granted full planning permission for construction of the new Dyson Cancer Centre.

James Scott, RUH Chief Executive said: “On behalf of the community we serve, we’re delighted to reach this significant milestone. Our new world-class Centre will help transform the care we provide for patients, families and carers and provide a nurturing and therapeutic environment, reducing stress and anxiety and promoting health.

“It’s taken a huge amount of planning and preparation, working with staff and patients and our partners to get to this point.”

Scheduled to open for patients in 2023, the new Centre will be located next to the main entrance of the RUH and will bring the majority of the RUH’s cancer services, including research teams, under one roof.

Caroline Gilleece, RUH Matron and Cancer Lead Nurse said: “We are really excited by what the future holds. This will be more than just a building, it will be a therapeutic environment centred on patient care and experience, which will  also provide a fantastic place to work, so we can retain our dedicated staff and attract the very best to join us.”

Rhyannon Boyd, Head of Fundraising, The Forever Friends Appeal said: “We are delighted that the planning has been approved. It’s truly special in its design and facilities and we would like to take this opportunity to thank people for showing their support for our RUH Cancer Care Campaign.”

Cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support is investing £1.5million to create a new patient support centre called the Macmillan Wellbeing Hub which will be at the heart of the Dyson Cancer Centre.

Maggie Crowe, Macmillan Partnership Manager said: “I’m thrilled to hear we are now are one step closer to opening the doors of our new purpose-built Macmillan Wellbeing Hub. It will be a sanctuary for patients and their families inside the Dyson Cancer Centre. It will offer vital support as they go through treatment including counselling, a complementary therapy suite and overnight accommodation so that families can stay close to their loved ones.”

Work will start on site in 2020 to demolish the old Therapies block, clearing the way for construction to start on the new Dyson Cancer Centre in early 2021.  The Centre will mark the final phase of the RUH’s current Fit for the Future estates redevelopment plan, to transform the northern part of the hospital site.

In the last decade the RUH has invested heavily in its estate and infrastructure and delivered a range of new facilities, including the award winning Dyson Neonatal Care Unit, a new pharmacy at the heart of the hospital and the recent RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre.

Further demolition and landscaping work to create a ‘green heart’, a purpose designed garden area for the hospital, will take place once the Dyson Cancer Centre is open.

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The Forever Friends Appeal launches ‘Help your hospital heroes’ appeal

Help your hospital heroes

Please help raise funds to support the Royal United Hospitals Bath and its staff during the coronavirus crisis.

Please help us to raise funds to support the Royal United Hospitals (RUH) Bath and our inspiring NHS staff during the coronavirus crisis.

Our hospital is under increased and immense pressure at this extraordinary time. Care for all RUH patients has to continue and staff are going above and beyond to make sure it does.

We are all being asked to stay indoors, work from home, or maintain ‘social distance’ from our friends and family but our amazing NHS staff can’t. They have to be there for us all and some now won’t see their own families for weeks to protect patients and their own loved ones from the outbreak of the virus.

As the hospital’s charity, The Forever Friends Appeal is asking for your help to support the hospital and its heroes.

John Cullum, Chair of The Forever Friends Appeal, says “We want to say thank you to all the NHS staff who are on the frontline right now. We will owe you for everything you do and all that you give so selflessly for our care.”

Unfortunately, due to infection control restrictions, the hospital cannot accept gifted items from the general public. Instead, please consider making a donation online and the hospital will direct all contributions to where the help is needed most.

James Scott CEO, said: “It is heart-warming to see all the support and acts of kindness already flooding in for our NHS staff in Bath. To everyone that has already contributed – thank you, and to those of you thinking of making a gift, we really value your help in these uncertain times.

To donate and support your local NHS and hospital heroes, please visit www.foreverfriendsappeal.co.uk/hospital-heroes


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New appeal launched on Swallowing Awareness Day

A new fundraising appeal has launched at the Royal United Hospitals Bath to coincide with national Swallowing Awareness Day.

The Forever Friends Appeal wants to raise £50,000 to purchase a portable machine to enhance the care given to patients who have swallowing difficulties.

By funding this piece of kit it will enable speech and language therapists to provide an alternative bedside assessment – reducing the waiting time to attend the x-ray clinic which can sometimes be several weeks and is the only option at present.

Catherine Cawley, Clinical Specialist and Speech and Language Therapist, RUH said:

“Being able to eat and drink without a second thought is something most of us take for granted. But sadly many people have problems swallowing as a result of conditions such as having a stroke, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. It is a serious issue as it can cause coughing and choking when you eat and drink, which can lead to chest infections, increased hospital admission and lengthier stays in hospital.

“This is why we are delighted to have the support from our charity on Swallowing Awareness Day –giving us the perfect platform to talk about this issue and the opportunity to promote this appeal.

“Having this machine will be a game changer – we will be able to give our patients a quicker diagnosis, recommend treatment and reduce the possibility of further medical complications.”

Only a small number of hospital trusts have this type of portable machine which uses fibreoptic technology to help the Speech and Language Therapist assess a patient’s mouth, throat and swallow. Once the machine is purchased, the speech and language therapy team will look to roll the service out to assess patients across the hospital.

Rhyannon Boyd, Head of Fundraising, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“This appeal is an opportunity to give patients with swallowing difficulties the highest standard of care and ultimately help improve their quality of life. We are inviting the public to show their support by helping us raise the amount needed so we can make a real difference to our patients.”

There are many ways that people can get involved and show their support for this appeal – from making a donation online, taking part in one of the charity’s events, fundraising at work or in your local community or by leaving a gift in your will.

For more information about the speech and language therapy appeal click here

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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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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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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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Movie by Moonlight raises over £12,000 for Breast Unit Appeal

We are delighted to announce this year’s Movie by Moonlight has raised over £12,000 and will be donated to our Breast Unit Special Appeal to benefit patients at the Royal United Hospitals (RUH) Bath.

The outdoor screening of Bohemian Rhapsody was aired in Bath’s Royal Victoria Park on Saturday 31 August. Although it was free entry, people could make a voluntary donation to the Appeal on the night.

Laura Pearce, Events and Community Officer said:

“We hope everyone had a great time on Saturday and I would like to thank everyone who generously donated to our charity.

“I would also like to thank the local food vendors who joined us on the night – The Scallop Shell, JC’s Kitchen, Have! A Pinch and The Split Screen Ice Cream Co, Freestyle Designs for sponsoring our Movie by Moonlight event and Filmair Cinema Services for always ensuring we have a fantastic atmosphere during the screening in Royal Victoria Park.”

The Appeal is aiming to raise £450,000 for the hospital’s Breast Unit. With the proceeds from the charity’s Movie by Moonlight event, the total to-date sits at £110,000.

Once the fundraising target has been reached, the funds will be used towards the redevelopment and expansion of the Breast Unit which sees and treats an increasing number of patients every year.

The redevelopment and expansion of the unit will include: a new welcoming and calming waiting area, larger consultation suites, an area for mammographic and MRI reporting and examination areas. Patients will also benefit from a dedicated treatment room for nursing and breast prosthetic fittings, space for essential survivorship support, an outside area for private retreats, and quiet rooms for privacy and dignity where staff can carry out holistic needs assessments.

We are appealing to the public to continue to support the Breast Unit Special Appeal so that patients will benefit from a Breast unit that promotes welling being and recovery, whilst providing the very best facilities for an ongoing patient-centred approach to care.

For information about how to get involved and support our Breast Unit Special Appeal and/or to make a donation please click here

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Sarah completes five amazing challenges

Sarah Bennett has completed five amazing challenges to raise funds for our Breast Unit Special Appeal so she could give something back to the RUH after her crucial surgery.

Sarah who has raised an incredible £2,840 for our appeal, found out in October 2017 that she carried a mutation in her BRCA2 gene (meaning she had an 80% lifetime risk of breast cancer), so she made the difficult decision to have a potentially life-saving double mastectomy at the RUH. Sarah said:

“My experiences of the Breast Unit over the past three years have been nothing but positive. The care I have received has been fabulous, but they do need more space. Whilst my BRCA diagnosis continues to be a difficult journey to navigate, I am thankful for being able to take action before actually developing cancer. As the Appeal is raising funds to supplement the redevelopment, it feels very apt for me to contribute to something close to my heart. ”

The challenges which Sarah completed this year were the South West Coastal Half marathon on 6th April, the Pembrokeshire Coast Half Marathon on the 27th April, the Brecon Trail Half Marathon on 11th May, the Westonbirt Sprint Triathlon on 27th May and the Bowood House Triathlon on 20th June. She originally set out to raise £500 for the appeal, but smashed her target, raising £2,840.

Sarah spent five days in the RUH recovering after her major operation, after which she said:

“The care I received on the Charlotte Ward was fantastic, and I know we are all aware how hard nurses work, but it really isn’t until you see it that you really do appreciate just how hard. The whole nursing team, healthcare assistants, cleaners and volunteers on the wards work tirelessly for hours doing a simply amazing job. They showered me, fed and watered me, mopped up my tears and comforted me when it all became too much. And believe me, it did! I cannot thank them all enough.

“My whole experience and journey through different areas within the hospital was pretty much faultless. As a part of the process I also met with the Clinical Psychologist. His support was invaluable both before, after and during my hospital stays. He even appeared within an hour of me returning to the ward after surgery to check I was OK. The care and compassion of my surgeon and Breast nurse made a whole world of difference in making my experience much more manageable.”

With the support of fundraisers like Sarah, we hope to reach our £450,000 target for the refurbishment and expansion of Breast Unit, which sees around 6,000 outpatient referrals to the unit every year. Of these patients, around 400 will be treated for cancer.

The NHS is providing £1m to fund new equipment in the Breast Unit, and donations from our charity will pay for a new area for mammographic and MRI reporting, an improved waiting area and peace garden, enlarged consultation suites and the space to deliver survivorship care to patients after treatment.

Can you support us? If you’ve been a patient or have a loved one who has been treated in the Breast Unit and want to give something back, please click here for more details of how to get involved.

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