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Dorset’s ‘Quarrymen’ deliver Christmas cheer on charity toy run

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Dorset’s Chapter of the Widows Sons Masonic Bikers Association took on a festive fundraising drive for hospital patients living with dementia.

Known in the local area as the ‘’Quarrymen’, this fantastic group of men held their annual Christmas Run last weekend (Sunday 26 November) for University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity.

In their ride starting from different areas in the county, the team passed by every masonic building across Dorset collecting donations from each individual lodge to go towards activities for patients on the wards at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and Poole Hospital who are living with dementia.

A member of this particular Association, Tony Collins said: “This year we chose to support these particular patients because as we all know, there is no cure for dementia. A person can live well with dementia but cannot get better from it. Some people with dementia need a lot of help and others may not need any additional nursing care for a long time.”

“We wanted to help fund activities that can help prevent people living with dementia from becoming withdrawn and instead help them to feel stimulated and engaged. I am aware that almost every lodge will know a brother that is affected by this illness, whether directly themselves or indirectly through partners, parents or grandparents. It is great that we can contribute in some way to our local hospitals and their patients.”

Community Fundraiser, Janine Golding said; “What a fabulous day we had! It was amazing to see everybody getting into the festive spirit in fancy dress and going the extra mile to help provide a bit of joy to some of our patients by raising £1,310 to gift these activities to those that need them most. Thank you so much!”

Remember a loved one this Christmas and light up our tree

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Make the memory of your loved one shine bright this festive period by supporting the Light Up Our Tree Christmas campaign, launched by University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity.

The Christmas countdown has begun for many with Christmas cakes already in the oven and shopping underway. However, for some, it can be a difficult time of year. Especially for those with loved ones that are no longer with us today.

Light Up Our Tree is your opportunity to remember cherished family members or friends we have lost, whether or not a loved one was cared for at the Royal Bournemouth, Christchurch or Poole Hospital.

University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity is inviting everybody across Dorset and the surrounding areas to make a donation and write the names of your loved ones on a candle decoration to be displayed at either the Royal Bournemouth, Christchurch or Poole Hospitals over the Christmas period.

For 37-year-old Aimee Aldersley from Bournemouth, this will be the first Christmas without both parents.

Last Christmas she and her twin sister spent Christmas day visiting their dad at Poole Hospital, hoping to share Christmas video messages from their brother, the grandchildren and family and friends. Sadly, he was unresponsive until New Year’s Eve. After 7 months in Critical Care, the stroke ward and the Acute Brain Injury Unit, their dad passed away on Sunday 15 January.

Their mum also passed away throughout the Christmas season on Friday 10 December 2020 after living with Amyloidosis, Myeloma and kidney failure. While both parents passed away for different illnesses and in different ways, the care they received from University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust is something that will never be forgotten.

Aimee says: “Throughout the covid pandemic, the medical team did all they could to get mum home for her palliative care just like she wanted and the staff on the Portland Ward cared for dad until his very last moments. In such difficult circumstances we grew close to everybody on the wards and depended on them more than ever.”

“Losing not just one parent but two in almost 2 years is unimaginable. We still can’t believe it. If you have ever lost a loved one and would like to show your support to NHS staff who help people like mum and dad every day, please donate today. Our irreplaceable memories are with us every day, but this candle will represent the light they have left behind in our hearts.”

The local community can make their donation and candle dedication  here.

Super seven skydivers reach for the sky to support their local hospitals

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Seven staff members from University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust recently took the leap and to the skies to jump 10,000ft and 15,000ft to support The Royal Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Hospitals. 

Taking on the once in a lifetime experience at GoSkydive in Salisbury was Ali Whyte, Molly Lopez, Rachel Gregory, Kim Davis, Fiona Sowerby, Amira Al-Bittar and Charlotte Pontin-Thomas.

This super seven had individual motivations to take on this courageous challenge and decided to fundraise for a mixture of areas within University Hospitals Dorset.

First up was Ali Whyte who works within the eye department at The Royal Bournemouth Hospital and was keen to support the Eye Sim Appeal for a revolutionary simulator for eye surgery to help train the new generation of eye surgeons across Wessex and Dorset.

Molly Lopez is a nurse for Ward 15 at Bournemouth Hospital and took to the skies to raise funds for a new pull-out bed for relatives who are visiting loved ones who are receiving palliative care. These patients need their families, and their families need comfort during such a precious time which is something Moly is especially keen to support.

Molly says: “Our patients go through a lot during their last days of life, and we would like to provide families with a comfortable place to rest during this time with a loved one. This will make this challenging time just that little bit easier.”

Thirdly, Rachel Gregory who works as an Assistant Medical Equipment Co-ordinator braved the 15,000ft jump to support all three hospitals, NHS staff and their patients. Rachel says: “I always wanted to do a skydive so when I saw the charity skydive advertised, my thoughts were its now or never. I am so grateful for all the sponsorship people have given me. There is so many departments in need of different things. I am so pleased I can show my support.”

Joining Rachel was Kim Davis and Fiona Sowerby who work in Finance for the Trust who were keen to leap into action to support their hospitals while ticking off a personal passion on their bucket list.

Not stopping there, Amira Al-Bittar who works as a Medical Laboratory Assistant in the Microbiology department followed in her flight from a Cessna Super Cargomaster – the fastest tandem skydiving aircraft in the UK to raise funds to support her colleagues in the Pathology and Microbiology department.

Last by no means least is Charlotte Pontin-Thomas who is one of PAs to the fantastic cancer care team at Poole Hospital has fundraised her way through cycl-athons and cake sales to raise funds to support the Cancer Care Unit.

Go team!

It’s no close shave for the local Radiotherapy Team this Movember

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From left to right: Lewis, David, Kyle, John, Abhishek.

The Radiotherapy Team from Poole Hospital are growing their finest moustaches this month to raise funds for University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity.

Half-way through Movember, a group of Radiotherapy Radiographers, Physicists and Engineers from University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust are resisting the urge to stay clean-shaven this month in their growing efforts to support their patients.

So far, the team have passed their fundraising target of £750 and have already reached the £870 mark.

Every penny raised will allow the team to purchase equipment in Radiotherapy; helping to improve their existing treatment in the Radiotherapy department and to continue providing the best care they can for their patients.

Community Fundraiser, Janine Golding said: “I absolutely love the engagement in this activity from right across the team, all going above and beyond to raise funds for their department. It really is fantastic fun to see and I can’t wait to see the final results on the 30 November.”

“It’s the community and team spirit of activities like this that really show the value our charity can have for our NHS staff and their patients. Together we can purchase new equipment that can really make a difference. Thank you to everybody involved.”

Senior Radiographer, Lewis Powell said: “We are keen to fundraise, but it isn’t always easy knowing what way to do it. But the answer was under our noses all along. We are extremely grateful for all the generous donations. It has been a great way to raise money for a good cause whilst having a bit of fun within the team.”

To support Lewis and the team, you can visit to see their latest updates and photos.

Dash along the sand for your local hospitals this Christmas

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Dash along the sand for your local hospitals this Christmas 

Get ready to lace up your trainers and unleash your inner elf at one of Dorset’s most magical events of the season – Elf Dash!

With just eight weeks left to go until Christmas Day, University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity is calling everybody to get involved in a 2km festive fun run on Saturday 2 December 2023.

Starting from Branksome Dene Seafront at 11am, Elf Dash is set to bring all the festive joy and elf-fashioned fun as everybody across Dorset comes together to celebrate Christmas.

Every penny raised from this popular event will help give a child in hospital a brighter Christmas and support the Children’s wards and services beyond the festive season.

After crossing the finish line, indulge in a jolly good complimentary gourmet burger and hot drink provided by our friends at Rapid Relief.

Not stopping there, every participant will receive an elf hat to wear to join in the festive cheer and get ready for a visit from Santa himself!

Fundraising Officer and Event organiser, Amy Beauchamp said: “Our events have been really popular this year, but Elf Dash has that magical feel at one of the most loved times of year! This event is all about having fun with the little ones as you start the countdown to Christmas! Elf Dash is usually a sell-out with a limit to 300 people so don’t miss out!”

Elf Dash tickets are priced at £12 for adults and £8 per child. Or a family ticket for two adults and two children saves you £6 at £35.

Everybody taking part is encouraged to raise £75 in sponsorship which goes towards helping our children’s wards including; the Children’s Development Centre, the programme for Diabetic Children of Dorset East, Gully’s Place, Maternity, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Music Therapy and the Paediatric department.

The money raised will contribute to items, such as; new equipment above what the NHS funds, activity packs, presents and games for children on our wards. This event provides an opportunity for all the family to start their Christmas celebrations while making a magical difference to many children who need the extra support of NHS staff, not just for Christmas but in 2024 and beyond.

Sign up now at or by calling 0300 019 4060/8449.

David Harris takes on half-marathon cider race after recovery

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David Harris takes on half-marathon cider race after recovery

40 year-old, David Harris from Hamworthy received a diagnosed of bowel cancer at the age of 38 in April 2021. His health took a sharp downturn when he started experiencing respiratory difficulties.

David who was typically an active individual, found himself struggling to climb stairs without feeling breathless. While he initially attributed his fatigue to the demands of parenting a young toddler with his wife, he decided to seek medical advice. Thankfully, after undergoing tests, David received prompt treatment following his cancer diagnosis.

Fast forward 2 years and David has just completed his first half-marathon, with a twist! On 19 August, David took on the Henley Ciderthon to raise funds for the Cancer Care Unit at Poole Hospital.

This popular fun run was David’s way to work his way back to fitness after recovering from Bowel cancer. This is a light-hearted fancy dress half marathon where you get a quarter of a cup of cider or soft drink every 2 miles along the course.

Dressed as the Walrus Crew, David was joined by his brother and a friend for the race and his whole family and circle of friends came along to cheer them on.

With the help of all his friends and family, David raised an amazing £2,055 for University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity. Every penny has been chosen by David to go towards the Cancer Care Unit to thank the team for the care he received as part of his chemotherapy treatment and surgery. David has been working hard with a special recovery trainer to regain his strength and rebuild his fitness.

Determined to resume back to normality at home with his wife, Victoria and daughter Elizabeth, David is now back to his camping, kayaking and all things family fun. Not stopping there, David the opportunity to re-train in something new and studying counselling, especially as he found it helpful to process the last few years.

Fundraising Officer, Amy Beauchamp say’s: ‘David’s positivity is infectious. It is fantastic to see how him looking forward now and celebrating how far he’s come. This fundraising activity is certainly something different but that’s what fundraising is all about, having fun and I am pleased he’s enjoyed raising funds along the way!”

Sharing his advice to anybody who has a cancer diagnosis, David say’s “Be organised and write down what you are told at your appointments. Recognise the things you can’t do and accept it, you can’t waste energy worrying about what you can’t do as it slows down your recovery. You have to redefine your idea of a good day and stay positive where you can.”

David is now having yearly observations instead and while David’s running shoes may be hung up for winter, he’s promised to return to the Henley Ciderthon next year.

Swimming 25km for 25 years of SPRING

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Seas-ing the day to celebrate 25 years of supporting bereaved families through baby loss, Dan Lovett will be swimming 25k from Old Harry Rocks to the needles lighthouse in the Isle of Wight.

In the next few weeks, Dan Lovett is set to plunge into the deep end of the Jurassic Coast to raise awareness and significant funds to support the SPRING service funded by University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity.

SPRING has been able to support bereaved parents in Bournemouth, Poole and the surrounding areas for 25 years to parents who have experienced the grief of the loss of a baby at any stage of pregnancy, whatever the circumstances and however long ago. This year’s 25th anniversary of the SPRING service has inspired Dan’s ‘big swim’!

Dan says: “I will be braving the waves and battling the tides, currents, jellyfish and anything else in-between to celebrate 25 years of this much-needed service. In 2023, my wife and I were delighted to be expecting our first baby. We couldn’t wait share our news with the world and visualised all of the things we wanted to do as new parents.”

“When we went for a scan and found out that a heartbeat couldn’t be found, we were devastated. It was a ‘missed’ miscarriage, which felt especially cruel as there were no signs that anything was wrong with our baby. Our world collapsed around us and it felt like a huge wave had hit us, flipping everything upside-down.

“In our darkest time, SPRING was there to support us and our counselling has helped us to learn how to sit with our emotions, how to grieve and how to begin to rebuild. Talking openly and honestly in this safe environment provided by SPRING has allowed my wife and I to grow and heal together. I will never be able to thank the team enough for all that they have done, but I can swim the distance to make a difference and say thank you.”

Dan has so far raised over £2,235 and his fundraising efforts are ongoing, right up to the day he out’s on his wetsuit. If you would like to support dan’s ‘big swim’, go to www. and search ‘Old Harry rocks to the needles’.

Half of the funds raised will also go to Myleoma UK in support of a family member’s cancer journey and recovery.

Fundraising Officer Zoe Woods says: “I’ve seen many supporters do incredible things to support the service that has helped them during their most difficult times but buoy is this one an epic challenge! On behalf of the charity and SPRING team, I want to wish Dan the best of luck for his challenge and to say thank you for braving the open water and swimming the distance for all the families who have been supported by SPRING or may need us in the future.”


Swanage family affected by cancer get ready to walk miles for loved ones

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We know that on average someone is diagnosed in the UK with cancer every 90 seconds, but rarely do we come across a family with so many people diagnosed during the same 5 years.

For the Woolston family in Swanage, this is their extremely sad story. 56-year-old Mark Woolston works full time as a Factory Manager and lives at home with his wife and two young sons.

In April 2022, Mark’s mum died of cancer and you could blow him away with a feather when he was diagnosed just two months later with throat cancer.

Mark underwent treatment before having an operation in August last year. In September, his surgery followed with three months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Thankfully for Mark, he has recovered well and has been working on getting back to his full health ever since.

He’s taken up walking and feels better than he has in a very long time. Unfortunately, though, when Mark was having his surgery, his mother-in-law was living with terminal pancreatic cancer and passed away in April 2023 – exactly one year on from his own mum’s passing in April 2022.

While Mark was having his chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment, his brother-in-law also started receiving treatment for lung cancer.

It is fair to say, this family have been through an awful lot over the past few years. In fact, Mark’s 15-year-old son walked from Swanage to Bournemouth Pier and raised £1,280 last year to support his dad and the Cancer Care Unit team at Poole Hospital.

This year though, Mark is feeling well and took on his own walking challenge late September, walking 22 miles from Swanage to Poole Hospital and back. In true competitive family spirit, Mark was keen to walk even further and is extremely proud to have raised a whopping £4,133.

Mark said: “I feel stronger by the day. My mind remains positive and I know I am luckier than my relatives. I want to give back to the Cancer Care Team at Poole Hospital because they are simply fantastic.”

“My Consultant, Emma King is a remarkable lady. She really helped me through this most unsettling time. She knew I didn’t need trials and that the combination of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery were my best way forward. I felt so reassured by the team every step of the way. Their positivity made me believe I would be ok and now it’s my turn to do what I can to help the on the ward.”

Thousands provided to make Christchurch Hospital a leading physiotherapy service

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The Christchurch Hospital League of Friends have put their hearts and souls into funding the remarkable refurbishment of the Physiotherapy department at Christchurch Hospital. 

This includes providing £312,677 for vital equipment that goes above and beyond NHS funds and brings the hospital forward into the leading physiotherapy service across Dorset that it is today.  

The Christchurch Hospital League of Friends have been supporting the hospital since the 1970’s and have not only seen the transformation over the years, they have been a pivotal part of striving to give patients the best by investing in the hospital that has such heart and history.

In more recent years, University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust has combined its two physiotherapy departments at Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals and is now proud to be one of the most desired places to work for physiotherapy in the area. The Covid-19 pandemic saw our physiotherapists set themselves up virtually like never before which meant adjustments to the space and buildings alone. 

Making the service fit for the modern day, Christchurch Hospital League of Friends has helped fund equipment like a DEXA scanner which is a high-precision type of X-ray that measures your bone mineral density and bone loss. Not stopping there, fundraising help from the League of Friends funded a leg press, a weights rack and rowing machine to name just a few items. Funds have also been invested in staff training and play equipment for children in the waiting area.

The team of physiotherapists are now able to see 1,500 patients a month and is proud to be the first hospital in England to use such equipment like the Alter G treadmill that adjusts itself for any weight to help every patient use the machine in the most effective way for them. 

League of Friends Trustee, Josephine Spencer MBE said: “To have a hospital like no other in our borough is not to be taken for granted. We recognise the hard work of everybody at this hospital and are proud about all that we have achieved and contributed. It really is a special hospital with heart and history. It has the personal touch and now has facilities that sets it apart from others. Every patient really matters here so why shouldn’t the staff have what is needed to take their services to the next level.”  

Chief Strategy Transformation Director, Richard Renaut said: “The late Joan Pounds who was the Chair of the League of Friends was an inspiration and instrumental part of Christchurch Hospital. A plaque in memory of Joan now sits in the waiting area to recognise her phenomenal contribution over decades of volunteering and fundraising through the League of Friends. She was somebody who embraced change and improvements wherever possible. What a difference she and everybody involved has made.”

Consultant Physiotherapist, Matthew Low said: “We wouldn’t be here today, able to do what we do without the equipment and facilities we now have from the funds from the Christchurch Hospital League of Friends. We’re really utilising our facilities.”

Walk with us for a ward close to your heart!

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The Charity’s flagship fundraising event, Walk for Wards will be back this year at Upton Country Park on Saturday 14 October at 11.30 am – 4.30pm.

University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity is calling everyone across Dorset to come together to enjoy a fun-filled family event whilst raising funds to support the Royal Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch hospitals. Every penny raised will help our local NHS staff to go above and beyond for their patients by funding new and innovative equipment and state-of-the-art buildings that is outside NHS funds. This event is a step away from the rest because everybody taking part can choose which ward or department, they would like their donations to go to.

Participants can choose to walk a 3km, 5km or 10km route, whether it is to support a ward that provided them with care or walking in memory of a loved one, or perhaps it is simply to show support to family and friends that work for the NHS. All routes are accessible for all ages and abilities, and we know that our furry friends make up a big part of the family too so this family friendly event will also welcome your four-legged friends.

Our main event sponsor is Hot Radio who will be bringing all the hottest tunes throughout the day and Rapid Relief will be providing a light bite for everyone to enjoy. Coles Miller solicitors and Think Signs are also kindly supporting our flagship event this year.

Hot Radio Commercial Director, Alan Smith said: “We are really excited and proud to be part of this amazing event. Being a truly local radio station for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole it is really important that the Hot family play their part through our sponsorship.  We’re creating our own team of Hot Walkers which is made up of staff, our presenters, volunteers and our listeners. We aim to raise as much as we possibly can and have some fun along the way.”

After crossing the finish line, participants can enjoy the live music, entertainment and refreshments available while relaxing in the beautiful grounds by Upton House.

Last year this event was held virtually so this year, the first 100 people who sign up to take part will be entered into the charity lottery for free where prizes are won every week! Fundraising Officer, Amy Beauchamp said: “We’re delighted to be back with this fantastic event again this year! As we celebrate 75 years of the NHS, we would like to encourage participants to set themselves a fundraising target of £75. We know fundraising isn’t always easy, so we hope a minimum target of £75 feels achievable.”

Tickets are just £5 for adults and £3 for children and those little ones under 5 can get involved for free.

We are pleased to announce our gold event sponsor, Hot Radio who will be bringing fun and commentary throughout the day. We are really excited to also have event sponsors Coles Miller (silver) and Think Signs (bronze) for our flagship event this year. We can’t wait!