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Walkers step out to support RUH Bath

On Saturday 18 September, 200 walkers showed their support for their local hospital by taking part in the Walk of Life. The annual sponsored walk along the Kennet & Avon Canal is organised by the Royal United Hospitals Bath charity, The Forever Friends Appeal.

To date, the event has raised over £25,000 and is set to rise further over the coming weeks. Funds raised help the charity invest in life saving medical equipment and life changing services at the hospital. They help transform the lives of thousands of patients and families cared for every year, as well as the staff who are always there for us every day.

Half of the walkers completed the full 26.2 mile marathon challenge from Bishops Cannings, near Devizes. The other half took on 10 miles from Bradford on Avon. Both distances victoriously crossed the finish line at the Holburne Museum in Bath.

Laura Snell, Events and Community Manager, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“A huge congratulations to all of our incredible walkers who stepped out to support the RUH Bath. You really have made every step matter for your local hospital and the many local people who find themselves in need of its services every day.

Whether you walked in memory of a loved one, to support someone receiving treatment, as a patient or staff member yourself, or to get active and support a good cause – you are truly amazing and we can’t thank you enough for all of your hard work, training and fundraising.

The last year and a half has been the most challenging times in history for our NHS and has highlighted just how important it is to the nation and our local community. So we are really proud that we have been able to safely organise this annual event (which hasn’t been able to take place since May 2019!) to raise much needed funds.

The safety of our supporters, patients and the local community remains our number one priority and so the Walk of Life was adapted this year due to COVID-19, to be delivered in a socially distanced and safe way for all. There are also many walkers taking part in the virtual Walk of Life and walking a marathon their way, throughout the whole month of September. Keep going!

We’d also like to thank our brilliant volunteers who marshalled the route and cheered everyone on, to everyone who supported or donated, and to our generous event sponsors MJ Church and Savills.”

Next year’s Walk of Life event will take place on Saturday 21 May 2022 and places will open soon.

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Photos from the Walk of Life 2021

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Sign up for the Walk of Life 2021

Take part in the Walk of Life event this year on Saturday 18 September and show your support for your local hospital.

The popular walking marathon event is organised by the Royal United Hospitals Bath charity, The Forever Friends Appeal. After a year of supporting the hospital from a distance, this is an amazing opportunity to be part of an event and make your steps matter for the Royal United Hospitals Bath (RUH Bath).

There are three options to choose from – either walk the full 26.2 miles from Bishop Cannings near Devizes, along the Kennett and Avon canal to the finish line at the Holbourne Museum in Bath. Alternatively, there’s the 10 mile distance, where you can join the walkers in Bradford on Avon in the afternoon. This year, a virtual marathon event is being offered too, where you can walk the full 26.2 miles your way across the month of September.

Kerri Gardner, who is donning her walking boots to take on the 10 mile walk this September, is walking to say thank you for the care her dad received in 2016.  Kerri said: “My dad was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at RUH in November 2016. He was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer/Sepsis and after having an operation to have a stoma bag, he had a heart attack and sadly passed away on 11th December.

The support the ICU gave my dad and my family was absolutely amazing and we will never be able to thank them enough. They allowed us to stay by my dad’s side and the very minimal time we did leave him they accepted our calls, passed on messages and generally cared. The staff there did everything they could to keep my dad comfortable and to treat his illness and I will never forget the compassion and understanding they showed him when he was clearly scared.

Personally I don’t do a lot of walking so the Walk of Life will be a challenge for me, but not as big as the challenge the staff at the RUH face daily. I urge anyone no matter how big or small support the RUH where possible as you never know when you may need their support.”

Last year’s virtual Walk of Life marathon event raised £40,000 for the hospital. That money has helped fund a number of projects including the charity’s RUH Cancer Care campaign for the new Dyson Cancer Centre, as well as support wards and department in the hospital.

Laura Pearce, Events and Community Manager said: “With two months until the event, we really can’t wait to welcome people back to our annual Walk of Life event. We are hoping to see hundreds of people join us and those who complete the challenge will receive a unique finisher medal.

Like every charity, we’ve adapted due to COVID-19, so there will be a few changes to the event, including COVID-19 measures to keep everyone safe and offering a virtual marathon for those who want to take part in their own time.”

The Walk of Life event is open to everyone and costs £15 to register. Participants are asked to raise a minimum £100 for any ward or department at the RUH close to your heart, or one of the charity’s major campaigns.

In return, The Forever Friends Appeal will provide walkers with lots of fundraising and training support, as well as complimentary refreshments and treats, as well as a medal and plenty of finish line celebrations.

To find out more about the Walk of Life and to sign up, visit www.foreverfriendsappeal.co.uk. You can donate to Kerri’s fundraising page here.

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Marjorie, 82 to jump out of a plane for hospital charity

Former teacher and eighty two year old local resident Marjorie take to the skies to raise much needed funds for The Forever Friends Appeal – the official NHS charity for the Royal United Hospitals Bath (RUH Bath).

Marjorie, part of the Frome community, will be leaping 13,000ft from a plane on Sunday 4th July to show her appreciation for her local NHS, RUH Bath.

Marjorie said, “I have wanted to do a Skydive for a long time and I am delighted that this opportunity has arisen. I used to fly a golden eagle called Samson in Devon and the thought of being able to do, for a little while, what he could do all the time was very tempting.

I wanted to support the RUH because we all depend on it. I received treatment at the hospital a few years ago and the staff made everything easy, simple and painless – it was fantastic.

We have learnt to appreciate our NHS more over the last year because of the Covid crisis. We have seen what the staff are doing and now I think everyone is more appreciative and wants to contribute towards the RUH.

Laura Cherry, Events and Community Coordinator, The Forever Friends Appeal said, “I would like to say a huge thank you and good luck to all our skydive participants. We cannot thank you all enough for taking on this huge challenge to support the hospital.

Wonderful supports and donors like Marjorie allow us to fund projects that make a real difference to the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients cared for by the RUH Bath. Thank you all so much.”

The annual Forever Friends Skydive day will see 15 brave fundraisers take the leap of faith. The team have raised over £10,000 so far.

If you’re interested in future skydiving opportunities for the RUH Bath, please get in touch with the team on ruh-tr.fundraising@nhs.net

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Frome Lions tackle Everest in virtual event

Since 1st April, local organisation Frome Lions, have been climbing the height of Mount Everest on their stairs and their local hills, as part of our Sofa to Summit virtual challenge. They’ve got until 31 May to reach the peak at 8,848m tall, and have been raising vital funds for patients, families and staff at RUH Bath.

Frome Lions Club have regularly supported The Forever Friends Appeal over the past 20 years. This year, 6 club members decided now was the time to show their support once again, after what everyone at the RUH Bath has gone through over the last year – in what became the most challenging in year in NHS history.

Club member Greg Wood said, “The Everest challenge appealed to all of us for two main reasons. One being that most of us have used and benefited from the services provided at the RUH. Second of all, we are all keen to take on this challenge to improve our own health and wellbeing. Three of us are retired and three are still working, mainly from home.

We are all enjoying taking part in the event. One of our members, Steve, has even had the company of his two granddaughters Darcie and Amalie every day as he walks around the hills of Frome!”

The 6 Lions taking part in 2 teams (socially distanced of course!) are  – Steve Cantrell, Adam Kotyrba, Bev Windley, Greg Wood, Sean McCabe & Chris Bailey-Green.

If you would like to support their Everest climb, you can donate by visiting https://foreverfriendsappeal.enthuse.com/pf/frome-lions-1 and https://foreverfriendsappeal.enthuse.com/pf/frome-lions-2.”

The Forever Friends Appeal raises vital funds to support a range of innovative projects and capital redevelopments. Charitable funds raised by the local community unlocks the very best in modern health care for their catchment population of more than half a million people across Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire – going above and beyond the remit of the NHS.

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Bath business owner takes on Everest

Toby Martin will be taking part in our brand new Sofa to Summit challenge this Spring.

Toby lives in Trowbridge with his young family and runs Reside Letting Agency in central Bath. He will be climbing the height of Everest on his stairs and in the great outdoors, to give something back to the RUH.

Toby said: “The RUH holds a special place in our hearts at Reside due to the experience of my business partner and the founder of Reside, Ben Bower. In 2018, Ben’s wife Natasha gave birth to their son Brandon at just 28 weeks – more than 12 weeks early. It was a horrific time for Ben & Natasha, but the wonderful staff and state of the art facilities in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit meant that they could not have been better cared for. Brandon happily went home two months later – still in advance of his original due date!

“I recall visiting Ben, Natasha and Brandon on the NICU ward. We’d had a baby boy ourselves just a few months before; we were alarmed by what they were going through, but so reassured to see how well they were being looked after. Having heard so much about Brandon, Ben & Natasha’s experience, I’m very proud to be fundraising for the Forever Friends Appeal – no matter how small my contribution is, I am sure it will help to maintain the hospital’s incredible work.

When asked why he chose this challenge, Toby said: “The Sofa to Summit challenge initially caught my eye as a way to become more active whilst fundraising for a cause that I’m sure is close to everyone’s hearts right now. My plan for scaling Everest is currently very basic: 48 flights of stairs for 61 days. But as lockdown restrictions ease, I am hoping that Bath’s hilly surrounds will help to mix up the scenery and preserve the stair carpet.

“To my fellow hikers, I would say: isn’t it good to be doing something meaningful again?”

Events & Community Coordinator at The Forever Friends Appeal, Laura Cherry said: “It’s amazing to see Toby take on such a big challenge to say thank you for the care his friends received at the RUH. Over the last year, our hospital and its dedicated staff have been working under intense pressure in difficult circumstances to care for patients no matter what. Figuratively speaking, they have been moving mountains for us all, so it’s wonderful to see so many people like Toby climbing their own mountains to give something back.”

Join our Sofa to Summit team and register for free here.

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Aiming high – shielding healthcare worker’s Everest challenge

A healthcare worker who has been shielding from COVID-19 for the past 12 months will be taking part in a virtual challenge to climb Mount Everest to raise funds in support of her colleagues and patients at the Royal United Hospitals (RUH) Bath.

Hannah Totterdell, from Keynsham, near Bristol, is set to take on The Forever Friends Appeal’s Sofa to Summit virtual challenge which will run for 61 days from 1 April to 31 May 2021.

She has already raised £65 and like all participants has pledged to raise at least £100 to help the charity provide support to areas where it’s needed most.

Hannah, Receptionist, RUH Audiology Department said: “I’m really looking forward to the challenge as it has already given me something to aim for and look forward to, which is so important for our mental health these days.

“I have a condition called Rheumatoid Arthritis, and the medication I take for this disease weakens my immune system, so therefore I’m classed as ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’, meaning I’ve been at home for the most part of the last year and don’t get much exercise.

“The challenge is ideal for me, as it’s something that I can do to raise funds for the RUH and can do it all from home whilst shielding. It will be a major challenge for me as climbing the stairs is sometimes not an easy task to embark on with my condition, but a challenge should be exactly that – challenging!

“I am very proud to work for the NHS and I have seen first-hand the impact donations have made to our hospital. It’s been more important than ever in the last year to be able to continue offering our service to our patients and make sure they can hear well, especially as people have to rely on telephone conversations and video calls when they can’t see their friends and family.”

So far, the charity has over 100 people set to climb the height of Mount Everest which is 8,848m using their own stairs or outdoors and it would like to encourage more people to sign up.

Karlie Evans, Events and Community Officer said: “There’s still time to register, it’s free and really quick and easy to do. This is a tough challenge but it’s going to be worth it. Our participants have many reasons for taking part such as to get fit and active, try something new but they all have a common goal which is the overwhelming desire to raise as much as they can to help support their local hospital.

“Everyone will get a free t-shirt and will receive resources to help them track their climb. They will also be invited to join a Facebook Group of fellow climbers.

“Anyone who raises £100 or more will receive an exclusive expedition patch and you can complete it any way that suits you – walking, running, cycling – just ensure you are following the social distancing guidelines at that time.”

Teams as well as individuals can take part and complete Everest’s 8,848 metres collectively. Anyone interested in taking part in the Soft to Summit virtual challenge are invited to sign up here

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Max completes his 100 lap challenge

Five year old Max from Bath has cycled 50km and raised £950 to date in memory of his Great Grandfather Ted, who sadly died aged 99 in February.

Thanks to Max and everyone who sponsored him, the funds he’s raised will be donated to our charity to benefit patients, their families and staff at the Royal United Hospitals Bath (RUH).

Before the February half term, Max and his classmates were set a challenge by their PE teacher to complete ‘100 laps of something’ during the school holiday. Max decided to cycle 100 laps around Alice Park in Bath and averaged 12 laps or 6km a day and finished the challenge on the seventh day by cycling the final 24 laps (12km).

Kitty Hodges, Max’s Mum said: “We’ve been so impressed by Max’s determination to cycle, whatever the weather. He only turned five in December and got his big bike at Christmas, so it is quite a feat for him.

“Max wanted to do the challenge and raise some money for the RUH, to thank the staff, who over many years, have looked after his Great Grandfather as well as other members of our family.

“The challenge also became a family effort too, Max’s dad Ed has planned a 100km cycle, his big sister Chloe, who is 8 years old, has been doing a 100 pull-up challenge and I have been walking and running throughout February to achieve 100km.

“We are so proud of them for taking on these challenges to support the hospital in memory of Great Grandfather Ted, who they adored. They’ve been utterly dedicated to completing the challenge and even though it’s been a tough few months, their resilience, willingness to do it and think of others, makes us very proud parents.”

Laura Cherry, Events and Community Coordinator said: “On behalf of everyone at The Forever Friends Appeal, we would like to say a huge thank you to Max and his family for their wonderful support. The funds raised will be put towards supporting areas with the greatest need at the hospital, both now and in the future.”

Thanks to the generosity from people like the Hodges family over the last year, we have been able to fund many projects above and beyond what the NHS can fund. Donations are helping to make a huge difference to provide practical and emotional support to RUH staff as well as patients and their families.

If you would like to show Max your support you can make a donation on his Just Giving page or if you would like to find out about the other ways you can help support the RUH click here

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Reach great heights this spring for RUH Bath

Get active this spring by taking part in The Forever Friends Appeal’s brand new ‘Sofa to Summit’ virtual challenge and raise funds for the Royal United Hospitals Bath.

The hospital charity is encouraging people to take part in its 61 day summit Everest challenge which starts on Thursday 1 April 2021. Participants will have until 31 May to complete the 8,848 metre climb, either from the comfort of their own home or outdoors.

Laura Pearce, Events and Community Manager said: “Our Sofa to Summit challenge aims to give people an unforgettable at home adventure. Many of us have lockdown blues and this event is about getting active, having fun and fundraising for our local hospital.

“Over the last year, our staff have been working under intense pressure in difficult circumstances to care for their patients. Figuratively speaking they have been moving mountains for us, so by climbing your own virtual mountain, you’ll be helping us care for our RUH staff so they can continue to make a difference for our patients, both during this pandemic and in the years to come.

“We’re asking participants to raise as much as they can. Anyone who raises £100 or more will receive an exclusive expedition patch. The Sofa to Summit virtual challenge can be completed any way that suits you – walking, running, cycling – just ensure you are following the social distancing guidelines at that time.”

Registration for this event is free and everyone will get a free t-shirt. Participants will receive resources to help them track their climb, and will be invited to join a Facebook Group of fellow climbers.

Teams as well as individuals can take part and complete Everest’s 8,848 metres collectively. Anyone interested in taking part in the Soft to Summit virtual challenge are invited to sign up here.

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Harry’s three peak ascent challenge

Six year-old Harry, from Bath, has climbed the combined height of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon, all within the stay at home guidelines, in an incredible 11 days to raise money to help staff and patients at the Royal United Hospitals (RUH) Bath.

Harry, a Kingswood Prep school pupil, has been learning about the UK in his remote learning lessons and decided to try and ascend the combined height of the three peaks in 14 days.

Harry said: “I wanted to raise some money for our local hospital’s charity, The Forever Friends Appeal.”

He began to climb the combined sea level to peak height, which is equal to 3,408m, on Saturday 16th January by repeatedly ascending his stairs at home, and took on the ‘middle steps’ and gained height on local walks.

Harry’s mum, Laura said: “We are very proud of Harry, he’s amazing. We worked out that by just using our own stairs, it would equate to ascending the whole staircase 70 times a day, every day for two weeks and he was ready to take up the challenge.

“Harry is extremely grateful for the donations he’s received to help him support such a worthwhile, local cause. He’s smashed his original target of £250 and has raised over £1,100. We’ve shared the messages of encouragement left on his Just Giving page with him. He’s had a lot of fun doing the challenge, thank you to everyone for your donations.”

Laura Cherry, Events and Community Coordinator, The Forever Friends Appeal said: “On behalf of everyone at the appeal, a big thank you to Harry for taking on this epic challenge to support our wonderful NHS staff.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to show us just how important our NHS means in times of challenge. The funds Harry has worked so hard to raise will enable us to continue providing additional support to staff that goes above and beyond what NHS funding can provide.”

If you would like to organise a fundraising activity from home to support our hospital heroes please visit The Forever Friends Appeal’s website for ideas. From virtual quizzes to danceathons, there are lots of ways you can raise funds to support the staff that are going above and beyond to care for patients at the Royal United Hospitals Bath. For information please click here

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