Gill’s Blog

jigsaw blog


A fundraising campaign is made up of many different jigsaw pieces and one of the most fantastic parts of being a fundraiser is watching all of these pieces come together. It will take time and not everything will work out the way you planned, but when things do, it’s time to make a lot of noise and feel very good about the job you do. So, today was a good day – we received £30,000 from a Charitable Trust towards our Intensive Care Unit extension at Harefield Hospital, and £10,000 towards our Genetics and Genomics programme at Royal Brompton. But every day, smaller gifts will come in via our supporter tree leaf project or via a sponsored activity, or a bake sale, or a simple donation. Every single pound plays its part, and thanks to gifts large and small, we have raised 80% of the £1.1m target for the extension to Harefield’s Intensive Care Unit. The iconic Harefield Fun Run has raised more than £40k each year for this appeal, which is a huge boost – and that sum is made up of £50 here or £100 there. Thank you to everyone who supports this charity – whatever they can…

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I have been to several lectures and events at The Royal Geographical Society over the years. And now, our Charity is actually hosting its own event there, on 2 March, and it feels very special. It’s also highly appropriate, because the event in question is a lecture given by Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub on his life and work. This work has mainly centred around Harefield Hospital, but Sir Magdi has also performed operations and led teams all over the world and his influence is undoubtedly global. Our wonderful charity lawyers, Bircham Dyson Bell, are kindly sponsoring the event, which means that all the money raised will go directly to Harefield, to two causes: the extension of Harefield’s Intensive Care Unit – state-of-the-art and kitted out with the very latest equipment – and to the Harefield Heart Science Centre, which carries out research today that will form patient care in the future. Tickets are available now. The lecture comes at an exciting time in the life of the Intensive Care Unit project, which has so far been a rather long and winding journey for the Foundation Trust. But now, brick by brick, it is being built. I – and hundreds of…

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Happy New Year to all who read this! The Charity team has come back to a flurry of activity after a restful Christmas and New Year break. But we never pause completely – our offices were staffed in between the two celebrations, and we continued to speak with our donors and supporters even during that quiet time. We ended the year on a good note. We had some lovely festive events, and received two sizeable gifts to support the purchase of our new gene sequencer, which will speed up the diagnosis and therefore treatment of many potentially fatal genetic conditions. But not all gifts have to be large – gifts of all sizes can make a mountain of a difference – quite literally. In my previous life, at The National Trust, we ‘bought’ Snowdon, and if you take out the handful of very large gifts, we raised over £1 million through an average gift size of £37. It’s a bit like voting – you may think your vote doesn’t count but it does. Without gifts of all sizes, we would not buy equipment, build buildings, support our patient care programme and provide music and art at our hospitals. So, while…

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We have been so lucky this month – support for our Charity and our causes has come from so many different people in so many different ways. It’s what makes working here so extraordinary and warm. Nick Robinson gave an inspiring speech at our St Luke’s Carols by Candlelight Concert last week.He talked about his journey from cancer to recovery and how, through that process, he lost his voice – and I don’t just mean how you lose your voice when you have a cold. Nick lost it for a significant period of time. And for a journalist broadcaster, that must have been devastating. But he dedicated his talk to his Royal Brompton team of doctors, nurses and other staff, and especially, Dr Julia Selby, Clinical Lead Speech and Language Therapist. He said that he would not be here today if it weren’t for their help in getting rid of the cancer and relearning to speak. Thank you to Nick and also to Savills UK Director, Noel De Keyzer, for his company’s support and for reading for us. All our readers were excellent. Our choirs that night were superb – Youth with a Mission sang a beautiful gentle song called…

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The last couple of weeks have again been a whirlwind of activity here at the Charity. I’ll start by saying a huge thank you to our Chair of the Fundraising Committee, Helen Putter, for making our Women at the Heart of the Matter event such a success. But not only was it successful, it was also thoroughly enjoyable and educational. Held in the beautiful Apothecaries’ Hall, it was the perfect location to reach our target to buy a brand new and vital piece of medical equipment. Called an EndoPAT, this piece of equipment helps consultants diagnose and subsequently treat women with cardiovascular disease quickly and non-invasively. This fantastic piece of life-saving kit became the focus and theme for our event. Assisted by one of our wonderful Trustees, Caroline Bault, as well as the Charity team, Helen hosted a fabulous luncheon and auction, and, to our delight it raised more money than the equipment costs. So, we have also raised funds for our One gene, all the difference appeal to expand Royal Brompton’s Genetics and Genomics Laboratory, which is growing to be a truly world-class diagnostic centre for serious genetic heart and lung conditions. The purpose of the luncheon was primarily…

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As the weather turns colder, our thoughts turn to winter, and have we got a winter of events for you! Please come and join us at some – or all – of them. Kicking off the festive season is our Royal Brompton Christmas Gift Fair this very Monday (14 November) at Chelsea Old Town Hall from 10am to 4pm. If I’m honest, I thought that this would be a small, first foray into an event like this, with a handful of stalls – if it worked, well, we may enlarge it for next year. In actual fact, we have gone from a standing start to a whopping 35 stalls, each one more exciting and more festive than the last. I have not bought a single present yet because I plan to buy as many items as possible on Monday. Our stallholders have given the charity a generous donation to be there, and they will give a further 10% of their takings after the day. Entry is free, so do pop down at some point during the day, if you can, and have a browse. To see a full list of our wonderful stallholders, please click here. And the fundraising activities…

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