The power of people

When the Oxford Radclife Hospitals NHS Trust invested £109 million in its new Oxford Children's Hospital, funding for certain special embellishments could not be contemplated. Thus a £15 million Campaign was launched to enable the hospital to be built and equipped far beyond the NHS standard.
£13.8 million of that target has so far been received. Who raised that astonishing sum? Its benefactors are ordinary people, the young, old, healthy, sick, and all kinds in between. How? Seeking answers from the Trust, Brenda Marsh (European Hospital) discovered inspirational as well as heart-rending tales


12-year-old singer, Zoë Mace, recorded an album inspired by her four-year-old Down’s Syndrome sister, who died. In just five weeks, that folk and opera CD, ‘Little Ray of Light,’ sold 5,000 copies nationwide. Zoë and her family have raised over £26,000 for CHOx.

Schoolchildren produced the opera ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’ at which a 13-year-old child, suffering Crohn’s disease, sang in the choir. This event raised £29,000 from ticket sales and donations. In addition, inspired by this effort, an anonymous donor donated £25,000 to CHOx. 

Two teenagers, Billy Henson and Leander Cadbury, climbed the summit of Mont Blanc — 4,807 metres. Their efforts raised over £24,000 for the TORCH Appeal, a charity set up by the family of their friend Tom Waley-Cohen, who died of cancer when aged 20. Aiming to raise £1,000,000 to name a surgical ward at the children’s hospital, Torch has already exceeded that target.

One teenager’s personal campaign — ‘Sophie’s Campaign for the Children’s Ward for Interesting Things to Do’ (SCCWID) was set up in 1997 by 14-year-old Sophie Watson, a cancer patient in the John Radcliffe Hospital. After Sophie died, in 2000, the charity pledged £250,000 (which they exceeded) to the new Children’s Hospital. Their fundraising continues, largely through successful sales of SCCWID clothes, which are sold by youngsters across Britain.

Teenager Andrew Baker, a former patient who survived major brain surgery and, by way of thanks, for his treatment, began fundraising, with a target of £20,000. He has enlisted the help of his school and a nearby girls’ school, and recently organised a football tournament.

The new Oxford Children’s Hospital has taken the majority of children’s services from the Radcliffe Infirmary (now closed), Churchill Hospital and John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford under one roof, creating a centre of excellence for sick children.
Treating about 65,000 children annually, this hospital is certainly child-friendly: everything has been designed specifically for tots to teenagers, as well as their families. A major feature, for example, is the parent bed and storage area that has been included beside most of the children’s beds. In addition, there are classrooms, play terraces, sensory rooms, colourful sporting animal direction signs, adolescent facilities and parent/patient kitchen and lounge facilities, all designed to help minimise distress, provide distraction and make life as normal as possible for children and their families during the stressful times.

The way in which dedicated child, adult and business fundraisers have raised and continue to raise cash for the Campaign for the Children’s Hospital, Oxford (CHOx) is inspiring. In addition, their ideas have provided considerable fun for those taking part. Here are but a few examples of what they did, and achieved.
Clearly so much can be gained to raise the standards of hospital facilities simply by asking the public to help – for it is to them that a hospital also gives.

Organisations and commerce
Renault F1 Team gave a £150,000 gift to the Children’s Hospital Campaign in 2005 to name the Renault F1 Team Play Terrace, between Tom’s Ward and Robin’s Ward. They continue their support with gifts of auction items, toys for the children and pedal and electric Formula 1 cars, and recently driver Lucas di Grassi (pictured) visited the patients. All their involvement has resulted in positive media coverage and the gift has resulted in a long-term relationship that benefits not only child patients, but also the Renault F1 community profile.

Shops: The Midcounties Co-operative Society made a commitment to raise £150,000 to name the Children’s Radiology Waiting Area. In addition to a creative array of events, activities as well as its team participation in the OX5RUN, the Co-op asked every customer that went through their 130 stores in August 2006 to add 50p to their bill for the Children’s Hospital. Over 120,000 customers said ‘Yes’.

Siemens Magnet Technology has taken part in many events to raise funds for the Children’s hospital. For example, eight of its engineers cycled 100km off-road, which raised £17,100. This Siemens division makes magnets for hospital MRI scanners.

A computer company aims to raise another £45,000 for CHOx, to help develop a Resource Room on the surgical floor. This firm, CSW, specialises in products for electronic health records management, and integration with web-based knowledge resources.

Builders - The management team at Oxford builders merchant Johnsons Buildbase unanimously pledged £55,000 for the CHOx appeal — and their staff happily joined in. As a result, they have beaten their target, by participation in a huge number of events, e.g. a 55-kilometre walk, golf days, a car raffle, sponsored runs, T-shirt sales and counter collections.

Other charities
A £14,000 mobile cardiac monitor was purchased for the Children’s Hospital thanks to funding from ECHO, a leisure industry charity.

The Baronets Trust donated £12,000 for a specially designed bath and ceiling-mounted hoist for the hospital.  (In Britain, the title baronet is an ancient hereditary honour; its standing lies between a baron and knight).
And so donations have arrived, raised by everyone, from the poor to nobility, the young and old, the week and the strong.
* With special thanks for help and co-operation to Claire Hooper, Communications & Stewardship Manager, Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust.



More on the subject:
Read all latest stories

Related articles


News • Software

Diagnosing ear infection using smartphone

Researchers at Umeå University in Sweden have developed a method that simplifies the diagnosis of ear infections (otitis media), something which annually affects half a billion children worldwide.…


News • NAO

Robotic rehab for kids

NAO, a humanoid robot described by his creators as a “little character with a unique combination of hardware and software,” can read your moods, recognize your family members, and learn your…


News • Prototype

Therapeutic toy for children with auditory disabilities

Hearing loss is one of the most common birth defects, with more than 12,000 children in the United States affected each year. Three students in Wichita State University's biomedical engineering…

Related products

Fujifilm Wako – Autokit Total Ketone Bodies Assay

Clinical Chemistry

Fujifilm Wako – Autokit Total Ketone Bodies Assay

FUJIFILM Wako Chemicals Europe GmbH
GMM Group · Calypso F – Multifunctional DR system


GMM Group · Calypso F – Multifunctional DR system

General Medical Merate S.p.A. (GMM Group)
GMM Group · Opera Sharp Evolution – Remote-controlled system

Flatpanel Fluoro

GMM Group · Opera Sharp Evolution – Remote-controlled system

General Medical Merate S.p.A. (GMM Group)
Subscribe to Newsletter