Bedford Hospital Charity & Friends
The Bedford Hospitals Charity was founded in 1988 by a group of consultants’ wives to raise money to refurbish the Student Nurses Home. There was intense competition at that time to recruit and retain nurses and good accommodation was vital. The Charity raised the necessary £440,000 and the home was opened by the Duchess of Gloucester. Since then the Charity has gone from strength to strength.
The Charity is led by a dedicated executive committee and has now raised over £9 million for projects at the Hospital. Large projects have included the first MRI Scanner (£650K), the Cygnet Wing Appeal (£164K) and the largest project to date, The Primrose Appeal (£2.35 million) which led to the creation of the Macmillan Primrose Oncology Unit in 2004. Since then £337K has been raised for the Chemotherapy Preparation Area in the Pharmacy, £400K for Endoscopes for the Bowel Screening Service, £200K for a Midwifery-led Unit in the Cygnet Wing, £600K for a Gamma Camera and, most recently, the £750K Challenge Cancer Appeal to extend the Chemotherapy area.
The key to the Charity’s success has been the ability to work closely with the local Community and with the Hospital itself. Most of the money has been raised through the generosity of local people, either in supporting events organised by the committee or organising events themselves in support of appeals. There have also been a few large legacies and a number of individual donations. Charitable Trusts, particularly local ones, have been very supportive. It is also important to recognise the hard work and dedication of the volunteer helpers who enable the Charity to operate with extremely low costs so that over 99% of money raised goes to the Appeals.
The current appeal is for £50,000 to purchase three new cars for the highly successful and innovative Primrose Car Service which carries patients for Radiotherapy Treatment at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge.
THE FRIENDS OF BEDFORD HOSPITAL
…came together soon after World War 2. The new NHS was short of equipment, so the Friends raised funds to help. Today we have about 150 members with 25 active volunteers. After operating independently for 70 years we have agreed unanimously to join forces with the Bedford Hospitals Charity to support our Hospital in these challenging times.
We collect regularly at Budgen’s friendly Supermarket in Bromham and we run a Stall in the Hospital on the first Monday of every month. Our Patron, Her Grace, the Duchess of Bedford kindly provides a fund-raising visit to the Gardens at Woburn Abbey every summer. Dining evenings, Pub Quiz evenings and our traditional Christmas Concerts in St Peter’s Church have been popular and profitable events. Bedford Drama Company and Bedford Marianettes generously donate Charity tickets for their performances, recently earning us over £500.
In 2016we raised £35,000 (including a £20,000 legacy) for an exceptionally accurate, up-to-date Scanner for expectant mothers and £1,356 for attractive Reminiscence Photos in Outpatients. In 2017we bought two life-saving Ventilators @ £3,200 each for patients in Accident and Emergency, and raised £20,000 towards an attractive, safe new play outdoor area for Riverbank Children’s Ward. In 2018we raised funds for three portable diagnostic units @ £3,000 each to detect liver problems in new-born babies. Our ongoing projectis to raise £15,000 to give Riverbank a new indoor play area with equipment for all ages from birth to 18. It will include a soft, hygienic play area for babies and children with special needs. Once this Riverbank project is completed, we will be supporting the current projects of the Bedford Hospital Charity & Friends.
From April 1st 2019 the charities were merged to form Bedford Hospital Charity & Friends