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Letter from James Keith

By Supporter Stories

Hello there,

My name is James Keith and I’d like to ask you to support University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity’s Light Up Our Tree campaign because of the incredible care and support my mum, Beverley Keith and our family received.

It’s very difficult to put into words just how incredible my mum was. Nothing I can say will do justice to the remarkable wife, mum, ‘glam-ma’ and friend we have lost. Mum was the most selfless, kind-hearted and fun loving person. She was uniquely able to engage everyone she met in genuine and heartfelt conversation. To me, she was the ultimate mum who my sisters and I considered to be our best friend. Her life was dedicated to her family and she gave us every ounce of love she could and more.

In November 2020, Mum suffered a severe stroke. She spent the next 62 days in hospital. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we were unable to visit and she spent 55 of those days on her own. Mum was treated on Poole Hospitals’ stroke rehabilitation ward and during this time we began to see that she was making slow progress in her recovery. The only contact we were able to have with Mum was through FaceTime. Sometimes the calls would only last 30 seconds, but every one was so important to us all. Due to her stroke, Mum would often struggle to find the correct words; it was so difficult not being able to be there in person to comfort her. As a family, we know all she would have needed was a hug, and to be powerless was heart-breaking.

Whilst in rehabilitation, Mum contracted Covid-19. Staff exhausted all options to save her but there was nothing more that could be done and she was placed into palliative care. After 55 days we were finally able to visit. I held her hand as my dad, my sisters and I sat together and told her stories about how incredible she was. We told her it was ok to let go and promised we would look after each other.

On 24 January 2021, Mum passed away. Throughout this time, hospital staff were faultless. They did everything with such care and understanding, and we’re so grateful they allowed us onto the ward to visit Mum before she passed. They gave us the gift of time to say goodbye and hold Mum’s hand during her final moments.

On the night that Mum passed away, a nurse named Chelsea changed her into a pale pink gown, brushed her hair, put a small amount of make-up on her and softened the lights. This compassionate act meant so much to me and my family. Thank you to all the staff who were so dedicated to providing my mum with such outstanding care in the most difficult of circumstances.

I have so many wonderful memories of Mum’s breath-taking smile and infectious laughter. My mum, Beverley, was such a bright light in so many people’s lives. This candle will represent the light she has left behind in our hearts.

Thank you

James Keith

Contractor’s quiz night raises more than £2500 for hospital’s robotic tilt table appeal

By Latest News

Quiz lovers came together earlier this month to test their general knowledge and raise nearly £2500 for the robotic tilting table appeal, one of University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity’s (UHDC) main fundraising projects.

The evening was hosted and organised by the Trust’s main contractor for its transformation projects, Integrated Health Projects (IHP), the alliance between Vinci Construction UK and Sir Robert McAlpine, raising funds for the UHDC’s robotic tilting table appeal as a legacy.

Teams came from across the Bournemouth area and included subcontractors Stephenson, AT Jones, W Portsmouth, and Norstead. IHP and the hospital had multiple teams supporting the event as well as from Royal Bournemouth Hospital neighbours, Amiri and JP Morgan.

The event was not a typical quiz night with a construction element featuring a ‘tower’ building challenge, with joint winners for the tallest Jenga challenge..

The overall winners were the UHD team named ‘Stroke of Genius’ who received winners certificates, and a courtesy bottle of wine each.

IHP Project Director, Bruce Preston, said:

“It was great to be able to get together with so many of our team, professional colleagues, and hospital staff for an enjoyable evening.

“We were delighted that the evening raised over £2500 for our nominated charity and the project we are currently supporting – the UHD Charity and its robotic tilt table appeal.

“We are so grateful to all those who contributed by taking tables, buying raffle tickets and supporting this wonderful cause.”

Purbeck coastal tractor run raises £21,218.93

By Latest News


Philip Trim and his son Ben presented a cheque at Poole Hospital for £21,218.93 raised during their Purbeck coastal tractor run.  The funds were raised through the tractor run, auction, campsite, entertainment, barn bar and food sold during the weekend of activity.  This event was inspired in memory of Phil’s wife Jane who was treated at the Dorset Cancer Centre, Poole Hospital.  Jane was a big part of the farming community and was well known for showing prize cattle and winning awards around the country.

Phil and Ben are pictured with Oncology Consultant Dr Mike Bayne, lung specialist nurse Alison Brooks who both treated Jane.  Also featured is Zoe Greenfield a radiographer at Poole Hospital.  The funds raised will support the surface guided radiotherapy (SGRT) equipment licence for postural video. project, Vision RT.  An incredible amount raised thank you so much for helping us make a difference.

Penny Jarvis completes the Chicago Marathon

By Supporter Stories

Penny Jarvis worked for Poole Hospital for over 40 years and retired in November 2021. Penny has fundraised for the hospital for many years, starting with her first marathon back in 1998 and to date has raised over £40,000.

Penny is a marathon distance runner took part in the Chicago Marathon on the 9th October. Penny said after completing the marathon;

“I did a personal best thirteen minutes faster than Boston and I came 1st in my age category, which makes me number 1 in the UK for both the marathon and the mile. Think I must be a late developer!!”

Penny who turns 72 in October, is a member of Poole Runners and is one of the club’s top runners and competitors. Her achievements and fundraisers for the hospital have included various London marathons, Boston marathon, Costa Rica coast to coast, trekking the Great Wall of China, Vietnam cycle and the Miramar cycle challenges. It is safe to say Penny loves a marathon and a challenge.

Michelle Whitehurst completed Comrades 2022 in South Africa

By Supporter Stories

Staff Fundraisers Spotlight  

Michelle Whitehurst completed Comrades 2022 in South Africa

Michelle Whitehurst and Phil completed Comrades in South Africa with 10 minutes to go and within the 12-hour cut off challenge requirements.

Comrades Ultra Marathon is approximately 90km (56 miles) starting at city hall in Pietermaritzburg and finished at the Moses Mabhida in Durban, South Africa.  The NHS has been a big part of their lives for the last 30 years through Michelle’s career, her role as public governor and her volunteering during COVID-19.  Michelle said of her motivation;

“We have both seen the incredible work undertaken by all NHS staff and the £750 raised during this ultra-marathon is to support University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity and our wonderful hospitals.  We are delighted to have completed this ultra-marathon, although it was the toughest challenge we have ever faced”.

Carole’s Story

By Supporter Stories

Losing both her parents to cancer inspired Carole Loader to start taking on epic challenges to raise money that would make a difference to local cancer services. In 2010, Carole chose to fundraise for our Jigsaw Appeal which saw a brand new cancer unit built on our Royal Bournemouth Hospital site.

A keen long distance runner, Carole ran five marathons in two months and raised £1,050 for the Jigsaw Appeal. Carole raised the bar for her next challenge and in 2012 ran a total of 20 marathons, raising £4,701.

“My motivation comes from the fact that I have had first-hand experience of the devastation cancer causes, and I love the fact that I can take part in a sport that I thoroughly enjoy whilst helping others as they go through a very traumatic time in their lives.” – Carole Loader

Since 2010, Carole has attempted to complete a fundraising ‘mega challenge’ for University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity every two years, including running Coast to Coast (200 miles in seven days) with her friends Pat and Claire, raising £2861.

In 2018 Carole devised a plan to run a 450km ‘sandwich’ which would see her run four 100km races with a 50km race in the middle, over a period of five months.

“I’m not someone who can just sit back and wait for people to post donations to my fundraising page. I had to keep going bigger every time I set myself a challenge. These days, you rarely just get ‘sponsored’, especially if you’re doing something you absolutely adore like I do with running, regardless of the mega distances. You have to be prepared to go the extra mile and think outside the box” – Carole Loader

Just before Carole started her 450km ‘sandwich’ challenge, she broke her toe and had to wear a boot for six weeks, meaning the race plan was thrown out of the window. Once recovered, Carole eased herself in with the 50km race and then completed two of the 100km races. But, again, injury struck and damage to her achillies tendon meant the races were postponed until much later. The challenge took her 18 months to complete instead of the planned five.

Carole has also raised additional funds for us by, among other things, growing and selling plants and holding bake sales. Carole then had the idea of sewing and selling blankets to other members of the huge running community to which she belongs. She made blankets out of old race t-shirts, backed them with fleece and sold them back to their owners. This has so far raised an incredible £5,000. Carole’s blankets have proven so popular that she has made almost 250 so far and will continue to make more as the orders keep coming in!

“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years in my mad quests. My husband John has been fantastic throughout, never stopping me when I come up with new ideas but being the sensible head, making sure I’ve not bitten off more than I can chew. Whilst I can still run and come up with crazy ideas, I’ll definitely still fundraise, as far as I’m concerned, anything I can raise, no matter how much, will benefit someone, in some way, going through cancer treatment.” – Carole Loader

So far, Carole has raised an astonishing total of £17,177 for cancer services at University Hospital Dorset.

If Carole’s story has inspired you and you are interested in supporting one of our current projects then please contact us today!

Harry lends a hand to local cricket club’s fundraising efforts

By Latest News

Thursday 18 August 2022

On Tuesday 23 August, a charity cricket match will be held at Bournemouth Cricket Club’s Chapel Gate ground to raise money for University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity’s Vascular Fund. The two competing teams will be the Bournemouth Wanderers vs the local Hospital Services Cricket Club. Harry Redknapp will be the guest of honour for the evening.

The match has been organized by George Stratford who earlier this year, underwent successful major surgery at Royal Bournemouth Hospital for a rapidly growing abdominal aortic aneurysm. However, just a short time later, George found himself back in hospital having hemorrhaged close to a pint and a half of blood. This was caused by a leak in the implant which was fitted during his first surgery.

The leak was in the most difficult of places, right next to many vital kidney nerves and arteries. A pair of 8” long stents had to be rushed down from the manufacturers in Kent and a large team of consultants, anesthetists, radiologists and specialist theatre nurses kept George alive, with a team of experts from the stent manufacturer also joining virtually.

George Stratford said “It is a truly humbling thought to consider all the talent, brains and sheer dedication that came together to pull me through. I want to thank all of them from the bottom of my heart, from the ambulance crew who were with me within half an hour of calling 111, right through to the brilliant nurses and staff in Ward 7 who looked after me until my discharge.

But no matter how many times I expressed my gratitude to those involved, it never seemed to be enough. So, when I discovered that my consultant also happened to be captain of the local Hospital Services Cricket Club I knew just what to do.

With the help of highly respected local cricketer Jan Bridle, I have organized a cricket match to raise money for the hospital in which I received such outstanding care. What better way to say thank you to my brilliant consultant than knocking over his middle stump? Or perhaps even seeing him hit me for an enormous six? Either way would be great!”

Head down to Chapel Gate ground on Tuesday 23 August at 6pm and join George and Harry for a fantastic summers evening of cricket. Entry is free and George will be collecting donations on the day.

New sensory projector funded by University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity brings joy to patients living with dementia

By Latest News

Thursday 4 August 2022

The Royal Bournemouth Hospital recently took delivery of an innovative new piece of equipment which uses meaningful activities to encourage movement, active participation and shared enjoyment in patients living with dementia.

The omiVista Mobii interactive projection system is designed for people at all stages of dementia. It helps users achieve greater socialisation and communication, enjoyment, sustained moments of lucidity, physical movement and raised well-being levels through calming or stimulating activities. These can be projected onto floors, bedside tables and beds which make it a fully inclusive piece of equipment.

A lot of patients who are living with dementia require on-going social care in the community which can take some time to organise. As they await discharge, the time spent in hospital can negatively impact on a patient and they can at times become withdrawn. This equipment enables staff to engage their patients in meaningful group activities as well as personalised one on one activities to build relationships. There is even a function to set up an individualised scrap book using a patient’s personal pictures.

In dementia care, therapeutic engagement is so important and more often than not, it reduces the need for medications to manage the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.

Katie Horswill, dementia and delirium team lead at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital said “We arranged for a demonstration of the omiVista on one of our older persons wards and instantly saw the huge positive impact it would have on our patients and staff. We are currently caring for a gentleman who is living with dementia who was quite withdrawn when he first came into hospital and we needed to find a way to engage with him. We thought we would try the omiVista and offered him the opportunity to look at the sensory equipment.

We chose to use a picture of an unpainted, black and white fence projected onto a table. I placed one of the paint brushes in the patient’s hand and asked him if he would kindly help me paint the fence.  He instantly started painting and the projected image started to fill with colour. The patient engaged in this activity for quite some time; it was so lovely to see and quite emotional to watch.”

University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity funds new garden at Poole Hospital with Covid-19 donations as part of long term green initiative

By Latest News

Thursday 21 July 2022

A courtyard at Poole Hospital has been transformed into a modern green space for staff, patients and visitors to enjoy as part of University Hospitals Dorset’s sustainability strategy. The new ‘Dolphin Garden’ was funded by University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity with donations received during the Covid-19 pandemic.

July 2022 marks a year since UHD set out its holistic ‘Green Plan’, with ambitious net zero carbon targets among other measures. As part of this, an area outside the Dolphin Restaurant at Poole Hospital was identified as a space which could serve as a much needed space for staff to have a break while also helping the trust meet other Green Plan objectives.

Stuart Lane, Sustainability and Carbon Manager at University Hospitals Dorset said “This project builds upon the Trust’s biodiversity and greenspace efforts, creating new micro habitats including a bug hotel. Specially selected plants also help to improve air quality by removing pollution. The project avoided high embodied carbon choices where possible via the use of natural materials and recycling. The old patio slabs were re-conditioned and reset and much needed wind breaks have been created with wooden batten fencing and shrubs. As with other works, we have been mindful to employ local suppliers. New sustainable outdoor furniture manufactured in Poole and made from recycled bottle tops has been provided, including the addition of two wheelchair accessible picnic tables. The old furniture will be repurposed in other outdoor spaces at the hospital.”

During the pandemic the charity received many generous donations from the Dorset community to support both staff and patients at the hospitals. These, along with grants from NHS Charities Together, were used to provide immediate supports for our staff including food and hydration, temporary wellbeing areas and safe spaces and communication supports. Some of the funds were also ring fenced to provide longer lasting facilities to improve staff areas across the hospital sites.

As well as physical resources, a large proportion of the funds have been used on providing longer term wellbeing supports including counselling and access to health specialists including psychologists, wellbeing practitioners and physiotherapists. Long Covid rehabilitation programmes have also been funded for the many staff affected.

Further works are planned at the Trust’s new offsite working facility at Yeomans way, where staff have been relocated while building works are on-going at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital. Across the Trust sites at Bournemouth, Poole Christchurch and Alderney, internal staff rest areas will be refurbished and equipment purchased to ensure that there are improved facilities to provide a long-lasting legacy of the wonderful support our community has shown their NHS heroes.

Local hospitals to tackle health inequalities in East Dorset with the help of NHS Charities Together, LiveWell Dorset and Active Dorset

By Latest News

Wednesday 22 June 2022

University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity has been awarded a £110,000 grant from NHS Charities Together via Dorset County Hospital Charity in association with Dorset Community Foundation for a 24 month long project to tackle health inequalities through a prevention programme based at the Dorset Health Village in partnership with Active Dorset.

Dorset Health Village is a recently created Outpatient assessment clinic based on the top floor of Beales Department Store in the Dolphin Centre, Poole. The clinic is part of University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trusts’ ‘Think Big’ initiative to address waiting lists and bring diagnostic services closer to the community.

The grant was awarded as part of a £355,000 grant awarded to Dorset through NHS Charities Together’s Community Partnership Grants Programme in recognition of the vital work that voluntary and community groups do to support the work of the NHS. NHS Charities Together is an organisation made up of 240 NHS member charities based within hospitals, mental health trusts, ambulance trusts, community health trusts and health boards across the UK.

The grant will be used to offer support to patients accessing the Dorset Health Village who are experiencing health inequalities including a reduced life span, greater vulnerability to colds and infections and living with certain health conditions.

The funding will enable 3 key elements to be delivered: improving access to healthcare, supporting patients to recover quicker from NHS treatment by supporting them becoming fitter for operations and empowering patients to have a role in their care and supply them with easy tools to improve their quality of life. To achieve this, the programme will include promotion of healthy lifestyles and the importance of health and wellbeing and behaviour change techniques to increase physical activity, promote healthy weight, stopping smoking and reducing drinking.

The total cost of delivering the project is £215,700 with the balance being funded through in kind staff support provided by Active Dorset. The £110,000 grant will be used to fund a range of items which will enable the success of the programme including a project coordinator, volunteer training, digital health support tools, pedal bikes and lifestyle survey software.

Active Dorset said “The funding received from NHS Charities Together will help us to dedicate time to support this exciting and innovative project, supporting those who need it most. We are looking forward to working with our partners, such as LiveWell Dorset, to embed prevention through providing lifestyle behaviour support into outpatient services in Poole”

Debbie Anderson, head of University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity said “We are thrilled to be working with NHS Charities Together and Active Dorset to achieve such a fantastic project which will have a significant impact on improving access to health services for our communities”