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Metal detecting rally raises almost £37,000 for Dyson Cancer Centre

1,000 metal detectors from around the world travelled to a site near the historic town of Marlborough for a charity weekend of metal detecting, raising £36,847 for The Forever Friends Appeal.

The event, dubbed ‘The Rodney Cook Memorial Rally’ was set up in 2018 by Gary Cook, in memory of his dad Rodney Cook who sadly passed away from cancer in 2017.  Proceeds from the ticket sales, raffle and extras will go towards the Dyson Cancer Centre at the Royal United Hospitals Bath.

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

“The staff who cared for my father at the RUH were quite simply incredible, caring and wonderful people. I felt compelled to try and do something to raise some money for The Forever Friends Appeal to repay that kindness. So, from something awful, the RCM Rally was born.

“This year was our third event, as the 2020 rally was cancelled due to the pandemic. This year’s event was a huge success, we were blessed with the weather and we raised a new record amount of £50,000 for local cancer charities.

“We were supported by many leading manufactures, dealers and retailers within the metal detecting community. We also had members of The Forever Friends Appeal team join us to help out and promote the charity.  Many amazing finds were made over the course of the weekend including, Roman and Saxon coins along with some Celtic coins.

“Since its inception, the Rodney Cook Memorial Rally has raised a staggering £116,000 for charity, an amount we are all truly proud of.  I would like to thank everyone involved in the organisation and running of this year’s event, everyone who has supported us and those that attended, please accept our heartfelt gratitude.

Laura Cherry, Events and Community Coordinator at The Forever Friends Appeal said, “Over the year, the Rodney Cook Memorial Rally has raised an exceptional amount, £75,325 to be exact, towards the Dyson Cancer Centre.  On behalf of everyone at the charity, I would like to say a massive thank you to all the supporters of the rally, the incredible amount they have raised, as well as the awareness they have driven about our work, it’s truly inspiring.”

The Rodney Cook Memorial Rally organisers are always looking for new sites to hold future events. If there are any land owners who would like to help them out, please contact them via www.rodneycookmemorial.co.uk

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Couple’s £10,500 gift to RUH marks Baby Loss Awareness Week

A Wiltshire couple who tragically lost their twin baby girls have raised more than £10,500 to help other grieving parents at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust.

Ali and Holly Jay, from Grittleton, presented their cheque to midwives who cared for their family, marking the start of national Baby Loss Awareness Week activities (October 9-15) at the RUH.

The donation to the hospital’s charity The Forever Friends Appeal and the baby loss charity Aching Arms will go towards creating an outdoor courtyard area next to the maternity unit’s Forget Me Not bereavement suite.

The couple completed a 24-hour, 70-mile sponsored walk around their neighbourhood, supported by friends, family and members of their local community.

Ali said: “We can’t say thank you enough to everyone who helped us to raise this money, and thank you to the amazing RUH staff who’ve done so much for us. We really wanted to give back something to you and to do something positive to help other people who’ll experience the loss of a child.”

Bereavement Midwife Bex Walsh said: “We’re really grateful to Ali and Holly for this incredibly generous donation. It’ll make a real and lasting difference. It’s good too that this helps to raise awareness of baby loss so that families do not suffer in silence. Talking about baby loss will help mums, dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles feel able to share their grief and honour their baby’s memory.

“Our Forget Me Not bereavement suite provides a space away from the busy maternity ward where grieving families who have experienced the death of a baby can have the privacy they need at a particularly difficult time. Having a dedicated outdoor area will further improve this service we provide here.”

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Breast Unit Expansion Project Update

Following the huge support from the public, the Breast Unit Expansion build is now underway following delays caused by the pandemic.

Phase 1 – construction of the extension

The extension will sit between the existing Breast Unit and Radiology which means there is a need to ensure there are no adverse effects caused by vibration to the nearby PET-CT which could affect the quality of scans. Monitoring will continue until the end of the construction.

  • Contractor Site Set-up; which started 19th July, immediately after completion of the CT4 project
  • Foundations and Drainage are now complete
  • Colour and finishes schedule for walls, flooring, and furniture
  • Detailed Equipment Schedule

Phase 2 – Works within the existing building

Sequencing of the works is designed to enable the clinical team to continue seeing and treating patients during each sequence; detailed planning about to start for vacating and re-occupying each area in-turn.

  • Sequence 1: Install new mechanical and electrical services which will feed the new extension and roof-mounted air handling unit (until end of contract)
  • Sequence 2A: Redecorate walls in the Ultrasound Room
  • Sequence 2B: Demolitions and rebuilding works to form the new Treatment Room and Store Room;refurbishment of Examination Room 3
  • Sequence 3A: Refurbish Consulting Room 3 and redecorating a section of corridor
  • Sequence 3B: Refurbish Consulting Room 4 and Examination Room 4
  • Sequence 4: Refurbish Reception

Phase 3 – Garden

Erect hoarding around the Peace Garden space; develop the Courtyard Garden (to end of contract)

The Principal Contractor remains focused on both phase 1 and 2 works being practically completed by 8 December and the newly enlarged department commissioned and fully operational by 22nd December.

Behind the scenes

“My name is Karen & I am a Breast Cancer Support Worker. I work alongside the BreastNurses in the Breast Unit. I joined the RUH & the Breast team at the end of March 2020– right at the beginning of lockdown!

It is a really exciting time to be working in the Breast Unit with all the extension plans moving forward. For me, the most exciting part is that we will have our own treatment room, so I will be able to do nipple tattooing for the patients who require it, on a more regular basis. Currently, it is difficult to fit in this clinic, as we have to share the room with the consultants.

I would like to say a big ‘Thank you’ to you all for your kind donations. Without your generosity, we wouldn’t be able to extend our unit or provide a better environment for the patients who have to attend the Breast Unit.”

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vCreate continues to make an impact in NICU

The charity is proudly funding a video messaging service for the Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care at the RUH for the third year, as it continues to support families, and particularly those dealing with feelings of separation and anxiety.

vCreate is a secure digital system that allows staff to take photos and videos of the babies which are then stored on a secure server. Parents sign up by providing an email address and receive notifications when they have videos or images of their baby to access and download.

For these parents, it enables them to see what their baby is doing and receive updates for the times when they are unable to be present in the unit. It provides a vital link for parents both local and further afield within the RUH catchment area.

vCreate has made a real impact to families attending the Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care.

Families Supported
Videos Sent
Photos Sent

“I recommend this service to every parent in my position. I am beyond grateful to the staff for sending me my little videos. You can always have another peek at them, and they just keep you sane in the knowledge that they are getting the best care possible. All hail EVERY neonatal staff member, as they all go out of their way to make your journey as stress free as possible. Unbelievably grateful.” Claire

“Having a baby in NICU and being separated is the hardest thing we’ve ever had to go through. Having the videos and pictures helped the process and gave me something to look forward to when we were apart. It also gave reassurance when times were very shaky with her health. And to top it all off, I have a collection of videos from the first 5 months of her life which show just how far she came. Forever thankful.” Mary

“The videos coming in during the night were especially comforting as we could see that our baby was ok before we called or visited the unit. This was especially comforting during night time expressing sessions.” Lynn

The system was vital during the pandemic where there was reduced visiting and access. It has been an invaluable resource and every parent is encouraged to sign up. The response from parents and staff has been extremely positive, with staff keen to express their creative photo skills and parents keen to see snippets and updates of their baby’s journey through NICU.

Funded October 2021 – New additional service for neurological assessment and early recognition of neurological problems. This system will allow for early identification of life-long conditions such as cerebral palsy in order to facilitate early intervention.



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Newfoundland Dog Dive – Daisy’s #ReasontoRaise

This Saturday, 27 daring supporters of the Royal United Hospitals Bath will dive into Portishead Marina and be rescued by Newfoundland Dogs, all in the name of raising funds for the NHS.

The Forever Friends Appeal are working alongside Newfound Friends UK to organise a day of open-water rescues at Portishead Marina.

Daisy Vockins, 11 years old, has decided to take part because of two things – her love of dogs, and her commitment to raising money to support others.

“My name is Daisy, I have just started year 7.

The hospital means a lot to me, because my mum is a very important person to me and works as a paramedic, and because the hospital has always helped me and my family when needed the most.

I really wanted to raise money for this charity so that if anyone gets into an accident or is living with mental health problems, they will know someone will be there to help.

I want to help the RUH buy equipment and do more research to help people feel better. I feel people living with mental health problems, especially during COVID, should have better equipment and help available.

I love dogs and want to see what it’s like to be rescued by a dog! Thank you for reading this and I hope that you will be able to raise money like me to help your local charities too. ”

What an inspiring thing to do! Daisy has already raised £510 for the RUH – you can donate to her page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/daisy-vockins

The Dog Dive team have raised over £5,000 so far. Good luck to everyone taking part this weekend – we know some Newfoundland Dogs who are very excited to meet you!

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Baby Beau’s tribute fund raises £17,000 for NICU

A tribute fund that was set up in memory of baby Beau Roffey who passed away two days after being born with a problem with his bowel has raised over £17,000 for The Forever Friends Appeal, the charity for the Royal United Hospitals, Bath.

After Beau passed away in November 2020, Katharine and Paul Roffey of Frome, decided to set up a personal tribute fund through the charity to fundraise for a specialist piece of equipment for NICU at the hospital.

Katharine said: “During our time at RUH Bath, the team were so caring and loving, giving 100% attention to the babies in NICU and their families.  We felt the need to honour his life by giving something back to help other babies and loved ones too.

“We found out that NICU needed a Binocular Indirect Ophthalmoscope, a specialist piece of equipment that is worn by an Ophthalmologist to perform the delicate procedure of eye screening on small babies to screen for a condition known as Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) which affects the blood vessels of the retina. The retina is a delicate tissue lining the back of the inside of the eye which detects light and allows us to see. After birth these blood vessels can sometimes start to grow abnormally and form scar tissue damaging the retina. Many extremely premature babies will develop some degree of ROP which usually resolves spontaneously, but a small number can develop severe disease. ROP is one of the few causes of childhood visual disability and is largely preventable and is dependent on screening”.

Almost one year on, various members of Affinity, the fitness training facility run by Katharine and Paul have taken part in a variety of events and challenges, including a 24-hour workout, a 50-mile cycle through Somerset and Wiltshire and 130 mile walk from Bradford on Avon to London in 52 hours.

Following these events, Katharine said: “Thank you so much to everyone who has donated, taken part or given their time and support!  We are absolutely blown away by the amount of money that has been raised. It was incredible to know so many people were taking part in challenges in memory of Beau and to help save other babies lives is so special.”

Jan Witt, Legacy and Tribute Manager at The Forever Friends Appeal said: “We are extremely grateful to families like the Roffeys who wish to celebrate the lives of their loved ones by helping others through fundraising.  Setting up a personal tribute fund really does help make a huge difference to the patients and their families who are cared for at the RUH.”

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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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#WhyIWalk for the RUH – Team DJS

Lisa, Neil, David, Elaine, Kerry, David and Deborah from DJS Wealth Adviser LLP are taking on the Walk of Life as a team to raise vital funds for the Royal United Hospitals Bath (RUH).

The company based in Radstock are walking to say thank you to the RUH for multiple reasons: “As a Practice we have all had experience with the many departments at the hospital. The Cancer Unit, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the Maternity Ward, Accident and Emergency just to name a few.

Lisa Thorne, the Practice Manager had twin boys at 31 weeks who spent their first four weeks in NICU.  She said: “As a family, we are forever grateful for the care the boys received from the NICU team. They are now 15, studying for their GCSE’s, they both love sport and play rugby and football for their local town, Trowbridge.

We want to thank the RUH for the care and support they have provided to each of us. As a team we are looking forward to the 10 mile walk along the canal together to raise vital funds and awareness for the RUH.”

The team will walk 10 miles along the canal each, racking up an impressive team distance of 70 miles on the day.

Looking for a way to bring your colleagues together? After a strange 18 months, we’ve spent more time on-screen with colleagues than real life people. But the time to re-connect is coming, and it’s going to be amazing! Spaces are still available for our marathon canal walk and our 10 mile afternoon walk on 18th September here – the perfect way to get together and show what your team is made of.

To support the DJS Wealth Adviser team, please click here.



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Running for my Dad – Ben’s #ReasonToRun

Ben Wood from Bath is getting ready to take on the ultimate challenge of running the London Marathon on 3rd October in memory of his father.

The 41st Virgin Money London Marathon is back with a bang this October, with 100,000 people set to take part across an in-person and a virtual event.  This year’s event is set to make history as the world’s biggest marathon ever.

Ben is powering through his training runs with a smile, and has already raised over £1,000 for The Forever Friends Appeal – the official NHS charity for the Royal United Hospitals Bath (RUH Bath).  Funds will specifically go to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to say thank you for caring for his father, Adrian Wood.

Ben said: “In May 2016, my Dad very sadly passed away at RUH Bath ICU.  Honestly, it was a very scary time. The staff in the ICU did a fantastic job keeping my family and I informed and reassured during our time there. Though dad very sadly passed away, both he and my family always remained optimistic. A feeling I personally carry on to this day in all aspects of life.

I am a firm believer in the importance to always have a sense of humour, even in the darkest of times. Laughter is the release of tension and spreads positivity. The staff would often join me, my family and dad in simply having a laugh. To me there is no greater feeling and connection than this.

When Dad passed, I lost a part of my past and it was an incredibly tough time for my family and I. Though rather than be consumed by the hardship, I knew I wanted to turn it into something positive and to create a better future. With my Dad’s love of all things sport and helping others, I thought of no better way of honouring his memory than running the London Marathon for RUH Bath ICU who cared for dad in his last few weeks.

I have never really been active or had any physical fitness or skills (I couldn’t run a bath without breaking a sweat!). Though despite this, and despite experiencing plenty of failures, as we all do in life, I have always been a strong believer that you can achieve anything you set your mind to despite the challenges.

Ben’s fundraising will help support patients at their most vulnerable.  Margerinta Jenkins, Matron of Critical Care and Outreach, said: “The incredibly poignant memories of Ben’s experience, captures the essence of what we as a team try to create for our patients and families. Hearing of Ben’s challenge to himself, getting out of his comfort zone to raise money for our unit is incredibly humbling. Such actions give us the opportunity to improve our patients and families experience and we as a team cannot thank Ben enough.”

Ben is an inspiration to us all. He is setting himself a big challenge and is proving that anyone can achieve their goals, whether that’s to run a marathon or something a little smaller.

Choosing to fundraise to say thank you to the hospital is a really personal and amazing thing to do. We’re very proud to have Ben on our marathon team!

If you would like to show your support to Ben you can make a donation on his JustGiving page.


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