League of Friends of the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

PUBLISHED: 15:42 20 July 2010 | UPDATED: 17:34 20 February 2013

Cooking up more fundraising ideas: Jennifer Gough, Edith Kelsall, Christine Lunt, Cheryl King, Sue Skinner and Sally Davies

Cooking up more fundraising ideas: Jennifer Gough, Edith Kelsall, Christine Lunt, Cheryl King, Sue Skinner and Sally Davies

Since its formation in 1966, The League of Friends of the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital has raised more than £8million to help improve the standard of care for patients. Rachel Crow spoke to organising secretary Susan Hurdiss

League of very good friends

Since its formation in 1966, The League of Friends of the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital has raised more than 8million to help improve the standard of care for patients. Rachel Crow spoke to organising secretary Susan Hurdiss

The National Hospital League of Friends was formed in 1949, drawing together under one umbrella organisations and bodies that had been operating the length and breadth of the country working to raise money to help improve the level of patient care.

It is now the largest voluntary organisation in the Health Service with more than 900 leagues providing support and fundraising services to help patients and their families.

The Shrewsbury League of Friends of the RSH was formed in 1966 and, among the countrys top 20; in 2006 it was presented with a Queens Award for Voluntary Service for outstanding achievements and commitment to helping others. The leagues hospital shops are its frontline and from the first which opened in south hospital in 1971 taking 28 on day one, it now runs four with an annual turnover of more than 700,000 all of which is ploughed back into care.

Organising secretary Susan Hurdiss is tasked with helping to co-ordinate the numerous fundraising events held throughout the year, assisting the volunteers to processing legacies and donations. The four shops within the hospital are run by manager Bridget Goodall and her assistant Zoe Perdue.

We are completely dependent on our volunteers and have over 200 who man the shops along with only a handful of paid staff, explains Susan.

All the volunteers are marvellous. They put in so much time and are exceptionally enthusiastic and really do care.

Many, including all on the executive committee, give their time freely and work tirelessly throughout the year.

Executive chairman, Jayne Mott, a trained midwife and doctors wife, has been involved with the league for 12 years. Before taking her current post last June she was fundraising chairman for four. There are many other long serving members on the committee, including treasurer Tony Barker who has given his time and commitment for two decades.

Well supported by the generous people across Shropshire and Mid-Wales, the majority of legacies and donations to the league come from those who have received treatment at the hospital and want to give something back.

Many generous and caring people wish to help other patients and to help future generations by investing in the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, says Susan.

Support from local businesses comes in the form of prizes for raffles and auctions. The variety of fundraising events organised by volunteers throughout the year is diverse, from coffee mornings and garden teas, to fashion shows, golf and tennis tournaments, quiz nights and flower demonstrations.

A major day on the event horizon is the Ludlow Race Day on 21 April 2011, where the league will be the host charity and hopes to raise in excess of 60,000. We are relying on local companies to be generous by sponsoring a race or donating prizes for the auctions, says Susan.
Everyone living in Shropshire and mid-Wales will at some point have a friend or family member who will need treatment at the RSH and the League of Friends helps patients of all ages with all types of illness."
With plaques from the leagues donations dotted around the hospital, its easy to see where the money raised is helping to fund vital equipment and improvements. In the past 12 months alone donations have included 180,000 for 14 dialysis machines for the Renal Unit; 512,000 for a CT Scanner for the Radiotherapy department; 140,000 to replace and upgrade all theatre endoscopy camera systems to HD so that surgeons can perform operations using the latest available technology; 36,000 for Capsule Endoscopy, a small endoscopy that is swallowed; to 600 for entertainment for the patients in the Childrens Ward, and much more.

"Over the past two years we have been receiving more requests for funding and we are only too happy to help, which could vary from 500 to 500,000. We meet regularly with the Hospital Trust with regards to how we can help them," says Susan.

Keen always to raise awareness, particularly amongst the younger generation, the league welcomes new volunteers and already has a number of students who give their time freely, such as Adams Grammar School pupil, Advaith Gummaraju, who for the past two years has worked as a volunteer one evening a week at the hospitals North Shop.

Only time will tell if a new generation of volunteers will grow up to feel a similar indebtedness to and fondness for the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital that has made the Friends such a very special group.

With more and more young people giving their time as volunteers in our shops and also helping to raise extra funds with fundraising events I personally have every confidence that the League of Friends will go from strength to strength, says Susan.

For more information; to volunteer or find out about fundraising events contact: The League of Friends Fundraising Office, Royal Shrewsbury Hospital North, Shrewsbury, SY3 8XQ, tel: 01743 261007.

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