Grateful RNHRD patient Jim Pidgeon has celebrated his 80th birthday – by asking friends and family to make donations to the hospital instead of giving him presents.

Jim, from Wells, who’s a long-term rheumatology patient and former publican, held two birthday parties and raised £606.00.

He said: “I wanted to raise money to show my appreciation for the fabulous treatment that I have had over the years.

“When I was 18 I was a rugby player and played for the Bath RFC Colts. I had also been selected to join the Royal Marines and they requested that I represent them before I was due to join up. It was at one of these matches that I had an accident and my kneecaps were shattered and I spent over a year in hospital undergoing operations, having intensive treatment and rehabilitation.”

Jim has suffered from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis since having the rugby accident but despite his injuries, he went on to play competitive cricket and golf and then bowls.

Jim’s 80th birthday gift will go towards enhancing the courtyard area at the back of the new RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre at the RUH.

Julie Russell, Rheumatology Physiotherapy Lead, RNHRD said: “I have known Jim for many years. He is an engaging, larger than life character, with a very dry sense of humour. It is entirely typical of his generosity to hold a fundraising event for his birthday and we truly appreciate and value his support.”