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Royal United Hospitals Bath

Hospital charity’s popular fundraising walk goes virtual

The Forever Friends Appeal is calling on supporters to sign up and take part in its virtual walking event, called My Walk of Life Marathon. It takes place throughout September and aims to raise much-needed funds for the Royal United Hospitals Bath.

Like many organisations the charity has postponed and moved some of its events online because of the timing of the pandemic, social distancing and the strict restrictions on mass gatherings. Therefore this virtual event replaces the charity’s annual Walk of Life flagship fundraiser, which couldn’t be staged this year.

Laura Pearce, Events & Community Manager said:

“We have missed seeing our supporters take to the canal path this year but we hope by changing our physical walk to a virtual event instead, everyone taking part will feel connected, even though we can’t be together.

“It’s completely up to you how you decide to complete the 26.2 mile challenge, it’s your walk, and you can do it your way over 30 days. Take this opportunity to get out and discover the great outdoors or tot up your miles in your own home or garden – just ensure you comply with the social distancing rules.

“This event is interactive as when you sign up you create your fundraising page and set your target. You will then be able to share your page with friends, family and colleagues and see the other participants’ progress. You can also log your miles or track them by linking to Strava.

“By taking part in this challenge you will be helping us provide the rapid funding needed to support our staff, patients and their families. If you cherish our NHS you can make a difference locally by signing up and taking part in My Walk of Life Marathon.”

For 13 years the charity’s much-loved annual Walk of Life has seen thousands of people from all over Bath, Wiltshire and Swindon take to the towpath between Bishop Cannings and Bath to complete a sponsored walk, raising money for major campaigns and wards and departments at the RUH.

With this year being so different for all of us, your continued support for The Forever Friends Appeal will mean that the charity will be able to provide funding for the hospital’s wards and departments and towards its major campaigns and appeals such as the Dyson Cancer Centre and Speech Therapy Appeal. Participants can also choose to donate their sponsorship to a particular ward if they wish.

If you would like to make your step count for RUH staff and patients, sign up to the My Walk of Life Marathon today. Registration is free and if you raise £100 by 30 September you will receive a medal. For more information visit: www.my walkoflifemarathon.co.uk.

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Recipe book launched to raise funds for our Hospital Heroes Appeal

A book of recipes to raise funds for our Help Your Hospital Heroes Appeal has been launched in Bath.

The Rainbow Recipe book, which contains recipes from residents and well-known Bath public figures, has been created by Loraine Morgan-Brinkhurst MBE, a former NHS worker of 25 years and Vice President of the The Forever Friends Appeal Charity.

Loraine’s idea for the book was inspired by seeing lots of her friends sharing bakes and home cooked meals during the lockdown on social media. She says “I noticed lots of my friends sharing photos and recipes on social media and seeing the pictures gave me the idea to collate the book and help raise money for the charity and hospital, which is very close to my heart.

“I approached some of my friends and local contacts and in the space of three weeks we have managed to pull this together. I am delighted to say that local people and businesses have sponsored the print costs of the book which means all the money from the sale of the books will go directly to the charity.

“I am also extremely grateful to Mark Norbury who designed the recipe book for free. Both his wife and son work in the theatres at the hospital, so this has been a meaningful project for him to be involved in as well. There are so many people who have generously, helped and supported the book project, I am truly thankful and just delighted that we are able to help give back to the front line workers in our City who have worked tirelessly to keep us all safe.”

Contributors to the Rainbow Recipe Book include chefs from local Bath restaurants and hotels, writer Bel Mooney, Amy Williams MBE, actor Simon Shepherd, The Mayor of Bath and BBC Points West reporters Ali Vowles and Imogen Sellers.

The Rainbow Recipe Book is £10 and can be purchased directly from Loraine via the Facebook page @rainbowrecipebook or by email loraine@morganbrinkhurstconsultancy.co.uk.

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Somerset Freemasons provides computer tablets for RUH patients

Ten computer tablets have been donated from the Somerset Freemasons for patients being cared for in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Royal United Hospitals Bath Foundation Trust.

David Medlock, Provincial Grand Master of the Somerset Freemasons said: “We are delighted to provide these tablets and we hope that by providing these tablets they will give some comfort to patients as they will be able to use video messaging and connect with their loved ones during their time in hospital.”

Margi Jenkins, RUH Critical Care Matron said: “With the current visiting restrictions in place, it makes it hard for patients and their relatives to communicate, so by having these tablets for them to use, it will go some way to ease that difficulty. Furthermore, we’ll use the tablets to help those who are unable to speak to communicate with our staff, as well as a source of entertainment for patients who start the process of coming off ventilation.”

As well as showing their support for the RUH, the Somerset Freemasons have also been helping provide free meals to people in Bath and North East Somerset, financial support to food banks and some Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), totalling over £45,000 of gifts in kind.

David said: “We have also been able to fund a further 10 tablets for the hospitals in Weston Super Mare, Taunton and Yeovil and a further five tablets have also been given to The Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) and to a Masonic Care home in Exeter.

“As an organisation we are in the process of delivering over 1,000 computer tablets to hospitals throughout England and Wales. Like many other people during this challenging time, we all wanted to help as best we can.”

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Special memory boxes created for patients at RUH Bath

Creating special memories and keepsakes for patients nearing end of life and their families has been made possible thanks to donations made by the public to our Hospital Heroes Appeal.

Memory boxes have been created and will be delivered to every ward, including the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Emergency Department during this year’s national Dying Matters Awareness Week, 11-18 May.

Helen Meehan, (pictured above) Lead Nurse Palliative Care and End of Life Care said: “The coronavirus pandemic does present new challenges, but caring with compassion, kindness and respect are absolutely central to all that we do.

“Every patient matters and every family matters here at RUH Bath and we are so pleased to have the memory boxes. They will enable our staff to support patients nearing end of life and their families and we hope that the keepsakes and memories created will bring compassion, some connection and comfort.”

With the theme for this year’s Dying Matters week being ‘Dying to be Heard’, people are being encouraged to talk to their families, partners and friends and listen to their wishes if they want to talk about what is important to them. Conversations like these can be hard, but they are important to have.

Helen said: “When a loved one wants to talk about nearing end of life, it’s really important that we enable them to say what is important to them and that we listen as it will bring a shared understanding of what matters to them at this time.”

As well as helping patients create memories for their loved ones, the Trust has also introduced a ‘keeping in touch’ service and ‘virtual visiting’ by providing mobiles phones on all wards so families can spend time with their loved one, if they are unable to visit.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic over 150 RUH staff have received palliative care training and new COVID-19 resources have been developed by the Palliative Care Team to support staff on all wards so they can provide compassionate end of life care.

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Almost £80,000 raised for our hospital heroes

An incredible £77,000 has been raised to support staff at the Royal United Hospitals Bath during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hospital Heroes Appeal was launched by the RUH’s charity The Forever Friends Appeal just over three weeks ago and the charity has been overwhelmed by the generosity from the public and local businesses.

The money raised will purchase items needed for care packages and vital equipment to support the Critical Care unit, Respiratory unit and Emergency Department and many more areas in the RUH.

Rhyannon Boyd, Head of Fundraising, The Forever Friends Appeal said: “We are extremely grateful to everyone who has donated to our appeal. We can’t thank everyone enough for thinking of our staff during this difficult time, it really means a lot.

“We have been blown away by the number of people who want to do something to support and recognize our committed NHS workforce during this COVID-19 situation.

“Some of the money has already enabled us to buy reclining bed chairs for our Critical Care staff to sleep on if they need to rest after a shift. We’ve also paid for a new secure video messaging service called vCreate to help patients in our Intensive Therapy Unit connect with their loved ones. And we also continue to provide pre-packed food and toiletries for our hard working staff and much more.”

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

If you would like to show your support for our hospital heroes, the best ways are either – make an online donation to our Hospital Heroes Appeal, register to be a volunteer at the RUH and/or share the charity’s news and thank you messages on your socials. Unfortunately, due to infection control restrictions, the RUH cannot accept gifted, handmade gifts or homemade food from the public.

To find out about the charity’s Hospital Heroes Appeal click here and/or apply as a volunteer click here

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Making Easter eggstra special for RUH staff

Joy came in the form of chocolate at the Royal United Hospitals Bath today when an eggstra special donation was made – 5,000 Easter eggs have been delivered to the hospital to bring a little Easter joy and a much-needed boost for staff during this challenging time.

This generous donation was made by a company called gemsatwork which provides food products to workplaces. Christian Morris, Account Executive, gemsatwork said:

“We decided to donate the Easter eggs as we know how hard they are all working round the clock to keep us safe and this is our way to say thank you to them.”

The hospital’s charity, The Forever Friends Appeal is now working as quickly as they can to distribute the eggs to all staff before the Easter weekend.

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

“Thank you to everyone at gemsatwork for making this donation. Everyone who has received an egg has been delighted. We’d also like to thank all the other businesses who’ve donated to our hospital, whether it’s been packaged food, toiletries, flowers or refreshments – all of the items have been gratefully received.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the incredible response from our community and we would also like to thank everyone who has donated to our hospital heroes’ appeal. The money raised is being used to provide staff with care packages as well as other urgent requests received from our wards and departments.”


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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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Bicycle Giveaway for RUH Staff

As a thank you to RUH staff for their hard work during these challenging times, 50 brand new bikes have been kindly donated for our frontline staff who are struggling to get to work on public transport.

If you think you qualify and for a chance to win one of these bikes, together with a helmet, lights and a lock, worth £500, please email forever.friends@nhs.net and include your NHS email address or quote your payroll number. Please use the words BIKE OFFER in the subject line of the email and provide us with your name and job title in the body of the email. The deadline is noon on Wednesday 8 April.

Winners will be chosen at random and will be contacted by 5pm on Thursday 9 April.


Should you be one of the lucky ones to win a bike, the following steps will take place:

  1. You will receive an email confirming that you will receive one of the free bikes.
  2. You will need to forward your winning confirmation email to the bicycle supplier (details will be supplied) along with your height and gender, so that your bike can be tailor-made for you.
  3. Please note – it will take a few weeks for the supplier to receive the bikes, assemble them and undertake safety checks before they are ready for delivery to the RUH.
  4. You will receive notification of when and where your bike will be ready for collection on-site.
  5. On collection, you will need to bring your ID so we can match you with your new bike. Social distancing will be respected during the handover.
  6. With your permission we would like to share the moment when you receive your new bike on our social media (we will ask for your consent before).
  7. As a staff member you will be required to complete our Gifts in Kind declaration form. The link to the form on our intranet will be sent to you.
  8. Enjoy your new bike!


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Sophie’s story – why Therapies Matter

“After sustaining sports-related injuries in 2004, requiring intensive physiotherapy, I was in constant, chronic pain, extremely fatigued, and subsequently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (FM) in 2006.

“I joined the first therapy-led Fibromyalgia Self-management Programme (FSMP) at the RNHRD in 2007, where I learned strategies to manage the pain, fatigue, and cognitive dysfunctions (‘fibro-fog’).

“I was delighted to be invited and become a member of the team to support the programme as the first Rheumatology Expert Patient volunteer in 2008.

“The confidence and support that I received, helped me to consider studying part-time for an Open University degree.  I achieved my lifetime goal, this July 2017, gaining a BSc (Hons) Psychology degree just before my 60th birthday!

Sophie Moss landscape removed name


“To say that I was, and still am over-the-moon, is an understatement, proving it is possible to achieve your dreams with the appropriate support.

“The benefit of FSMP being therapy-led, is that it is an educational one, which is based on current research, drawing on the expertise of healthcare professionals. However, it is interactive, requiring patient commitment and involvement, to make the changes necessary to improve their quality of life.

“I owe a lot to this unique programme, and would highly recommend it.”

If you’d like make a donation towards the new RNHRD and Therapies Centre, you can make it via our website or through JustGiving.com


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Vikki’s story – why Therapies Matter

Vikki Knowles explains why the RNHRD and Therapies Centre means so much to her…

” In 2014 following a routine operation I developed severe pain and stiffness in my neck, shoulders and pelvis. This progressed quite rapidly and I became severely incapacitated with my husband having to help me wash, dress and manage everyday activities. I did manage to keep working in a limited capacity but the pain and stiffness was very difficult to manage at work. Getting in and out of my car was especially difficult and as a community specialist nurse this was possibly the worst aspect.

“I was referred to a Rheumatologist who diagnosed me with Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR). I was started on oral steroids and told that this would sort out all my problems. However, I wasn’t comfortable with the diagnosis as the symptoms seemed more extensive that those seen with PMR as the pain and stiffness continued to cause problems. I also experienced severe fatigue and interrupted sleep pattern.

“My GP who had been supportive referred me for a second opinion. Dr Chander, the second consultant I saw was extremely thorough and agreed that this did not look like PMR. Following extensive investigations and I was diagnosed with non-radiologic axial spondylitis.

“It was at this point I joined the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS) and heard about the Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) course being run at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD).

“In April 2017, I started the two week AS course. It was a revelation, the staff are amazing. I was lucky to be with a great group and we have forged a really close supportive network, which has helped keep us all motivated. Following the course I have gained pretty much full mobility and can now do all the things I was unable to do prior to attending including getting in and out of my car.

“The educational component of the AS course is also of great value as even though I am a nurse I learned so much more about living with the condition. It equips you with the tools to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep you moving but it depends on the individual continuing to practice what they have learnt. I have started yoga and Tai Chi as recommended and do my exercises regularly so that on my six month post course review my scores had continued to improve. I would never have achieved this had I not been lucky enough to have access to the group as there is no local AS services where I live.

“Attending the AS course has truly changed my life and I feel so grateful to have had such excellent support from the wonderful staff at the RNHRD.”

If you’d like make a donation towards the new RNHRD and Therapies Centre, you can make it via our website (click here) or through JustGiving.com

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