Here at Walsall Healthcare we were so sad to hear that Captain Sir Tom Moore had died on Tuesday at Bedford Hospital.
Colleagues will recall that the 100-year-old raised almost £33m for NHS charities by walking laps in his garden.
He was a complete inspiration and did so much to raise vital funds to support NHS patients, staff and volunteers during the pandemic, when help was most needed.
Thanks to his amazing efforts, funds have reached the length and breadth of the UK working with 241 member charities. They have made a huge difference on the ground, both to address the immediate needs of patients and staff and to support the longer-term recovery of the NHS.
For Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust Well Wishers charity in particular, we have been able to use these funds in a variety of ways and it seems fitting to provide a reminder:
- Wheelchairs – The first sum to benefit the trust was used to purchase 20 much-needed wheelchairs for the main atrium. So many staff and volunteers have been in the unfortunate situation of trying to locate a wheelchair for poorly patients, or someone struggling with mobility issues and we know this causes great anxiety to all. These wheelchairs have helped greatly to resolve this issue and now both staff and patients feel more confident knowing these are easily accessible.
- Fundraising Hub – The second sum will be used to refurbish the Fundraising Hub in the main atrium which is a real boost for Well Wishers as this area has finally given the charity a home and a proper base for all of its work.
Prior to the pandemic Well Wishers was generating funds of around £4,000 each month through book sales and events – and teams across the hospital and community have been able to use this money for the benefit of our patients and their families.
- Chapel refurbishment – A third and final bid will be used to refurbish our Chapel. This project has been discussed for over 18 months as the current facilities are inadequate, old-fashioned and uninviting for a place that holds services, private prayer time, group prayers and weddings and blessings.
The revamp will create a private prayer/counselling room, a more modern worship area, window coverings and hopefully new flooring, a new ceiling and decoration. The bid requested that the funding was used for a multi-cultural project that benefited patients, visitors, staff and volunteers with particular consideration shown to our BAME community.
- BCWB STP – Walsall Healthcare through Well Wishers has also been successful in a joint bid with Black Country & West Birmingham Sustainability Transformation Partnership and money received is being used to tackle health inequalities with Walsall Together taking the lead on this borough-wide work.
- Representation – The trust has represented NHS Charities in the Midlands as local companies and members of the public continue to raise money for the organisation.
Fundraising Manager Georgie Westley said:
“It feels surreal to think that one inspiring 100-year-old army veteran did so much to help the NHS during a pandemic.
“What a remarkable man. I feel honoured that we have been able to receive his donations through NHS Charities. Everything we are putting this money towards will mean that we can continue to benefit for years to come. It really is in Captain Sir Tom Moore’s memory as his actions will have a ripple effect in benefitting the charity and his legacy will live on.”
Chair of Walsall Healthcare’s Charitable Funds Committee Paul Assinder added:
“Captain Tom was not only an inspiration to the country during one of the most challenging periods in our history but as we all know, raised a phenomenal amount of money for the NHS. Like other NHS charities this year, our usual income generated through fundraising activities, has been severely restricted due to Covid-19 and the various national lockdowns.
“Against such a background, the funds raised by Captain Tom and distributed to local charities like our own by ‘NHS Charities’, has been a crucial lifeline, which has enabled us to keep operating and supporting our colleagues who have given so much over the last 12 months.
“In Walsall, Captain Tom’s legacy will live on in the form of a fleet of new wheelchairs, a fundraising hub, the refurbishment of the chapel and prayer area and in numerous other ways in which we remain able to support the great work done every day by our colleagues.”
As you can see Captain Sir Tom Moore’s extraordinary actions have benefitted staff, patients and the Walsall community. To see the change brought about in less than a year for us all is incredible. For that we are grateful.
Our hearts go out to his family and friends. Rest in peace Captain Sir Tom Moore.