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Charity office celebrates its first birthday

Celebrating are, from left to right, Louise Barker (Charities Manager, Bay Hospitals Charity), Jim Goggin (Volunteer), Pam Green (Volunteer), Heidi Bowron (Charity Coordinator, Bay Hospitals Charity), Sheila Lord (Volunteer), Judith Read (Charity Coordinator, Bay Hospitals Charity), Christine Metcalfe (Charity Officer, Bay Hospitals Charity), Rachael Edmondson (Volunteer), Wilma Duckworth (Volunteer)

[A]s far as birthday presents go, staff and volunteers for Bay Hospitals Charity couldn’t have wished for more when they met on Friday morning to celebrate the first anniversary of the opening of the charity’s Barrow office.

The office, which is in the foyer of Furness General Hospital, opened exactly a year ago on Friday (12th January), one month ahead of the launch of Bay Hospitals Charity’s Bayb’s Maternity Appeal.

Over the last 11 months, the appeal, which is being co-ordinated from the office, has been fundraising to equip Furness General’s new maternity unit with “extras”. These fall outside the remit of what the NHS is able to fund but will ensure a level of clinical safety and comfort designed to make the hospital one of the best places in the whole of the country to have a baby when it officially opens on February 14th – the appeal’s first anniversary.

As supporters tucked into a birthday cake made by hospital chefs, Bayb’s Maternity Appeal co-ordinator Heidi Bowron, who runs the Barrow office supported by a team of volunteers, announced that the appeal had reached the £200,000 mark, meaning it is now just £50,000 short of its £250,000 target.

Heidi, who has worked for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), which manages the hospital and set up the charity, since leaving college 30 years ago, said: “This is the best birthday present any of us could have wished for. To have raised this amount of money in just 11 months is quite phenomenal and has exceeded all our expectations.

“It just goes to show the support for what we are doing, which is essentially trying to ensure the best possible start in life for our future generations, within the community. We are extremely grateful.”

Mum-of-two Heidi added: “It was felt a Furness office would help not just the Bayb’s appeal reach its target but also, bring home to people that charity begins at home and with their support, we can help make stays and treatment here at Furness, as well as at Westmorland General and the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, more comfortable for patients and their families.”

Bay Hospitals Charity’s Barrow office is open between 9 am and 4 pm Monday to Friday. It hosts regular “Charity Natters” over refreshments for supporters to plan fundraising events. In addition, it hosts regular sales of hand-knitted babywear plus home-made cards and crafts. It is supported by the Bay Hospitals Charity office at Lancaster Royal Infirmary.

Its Bayb’s Maternity Appeal total has recently been boosted by festive fundraising such as a Christmas tombola run by Barrow office, which raised £100, bucket collections for the appeal taken up in Furness General’s foyer during a carol concert by children from St Paul’s CE Primary School, Barrow, and a £215 donation from members of Urswick WI, which used their carol service to support the appeal. In addition, Stainton WI held a festive flower demonstration in Stainton Village Hall, which raised £410 for the appeal.

To contact Heidi and the Barrow office to make a donation or to ask about volunteering, call 01229 404473 or email [email protected]

The charity also has a website explaining its work and giving information on its fundraising events at www.bayhospitalscharity.org

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