Students walk their way to fundraising success

Kelly Thornham News

Bradford Hospitals’ Charity has received a major boost to its Rays a Smile appeal thanks to fundraising students from Bingley Grammar School.

Year seven students walked 5K to raise an incredible £9,000 for the charity appeal, which aims to make radiology facilities in Bradford more child-friendly.

The money is expected to cover the entire cost of creating a revamped children’s waiting area in the radiology department at St Luke’s Hospital, complete with toys and distraction equipment.

LeeAnne Elliott, consultant paediatric radiologist at Bradford Royal Infirmary, who joined the 300 students on the walk to talk to them about the charity appeal, said: “I am incredibly impressed with the enthusiasm and kindness of the year seven community at Bingley Grammar school. Their efforts and fundraising are a testament to all the students and staff and they should be very proud of their achievements.

“The money they have raised will make a huge difference to children and young people who visit radiology in the future. I am sincerely grateful to everyone involved.”

Bradford Hospitals’ Charity launched the Rays a Smile appeal in April this year to raise £250,000 to:

  • create child-friendly radiology waiting areas,
  • create a snuggle room at Bradford Royal Infirmary, which will provide a quiet space for babies to fall asleep before scans and avoid general anaesthetic,
  • purchase a specialist Relax and View system to allow young patients to watch cartoons and films during MRI scans and, it is hoped, avoid general anaesthetic,
  • buy toys, distraction equipment and audio systems to distract children while waiting and during scans
  • refurbish some scanning rooms with more child-friendly décor, to ensure children are more at ease in the environment.

Most radiology services in Bradford are based in the basement of Bradford Royal Infirmary, which has little natural light, offering X-ray, ultrasound, CT and MRI. A smaller unit of ultrasound and X-ray is based at St Luke’s Hospital’s D Block.

Almost all patients treated by Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, either as an inpatient or outpatient, are referred for imaging, and more than 20,000 children and young people are imaged each year.

It is believed that a brighter, more child-friendly environment will benefit all patients, including some adults who find imaging difficult or stressful. It is also hoped the changes will speed up scan times and provide better quality images, because people will be less anxious.

Hayley Collis, head of fundraising for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, said: “We are completely blown away by the amount raised by students from Bingley Grammar School. Thank you so much to the students, their family, friends and staff who took part and supported the charity walk, either in person, via donations or by helping with the organisation.

“We believe the money raised by Bingley Grammar School will pay for all the transformation work required in the radiology department at St Luke’s Hospital, which will act as a wonderful, lasting legacy for the school. They should be very proud of the fact future patients will benefit from their efforts.”

This is the third sponsored walk the school has organised, having raised £4,200 the first year, £4,500 the second year and £9,000 this year – bringing a total of £17,700. Previous walks raised money to support the new hospital wing at Bradford Royal Infirmary.

Hayley added: “It is an incredible achievement for the students to smash their targets and double the previous amounts raised. We can’t thank you all enough.”

David Brown, student support officer at Bingley Grammar School, said: “All staff at Bingley Grammar School are immensely proud of the magnificent effort by our year seven students. They have worked so hard to raise £9,000. This wonderful group of students have demonstrated a high level of determination, compassion and empathy in supporting this local charity. Year seven students are also rightly proud knowing that this money will make a huge difference.”

Dr Elliott was joined by Children and Young People’s Matron Ruth Tolley on the walk on 28 June. The cheque was presented in a special assembly to Senior Radiology Sister Paula Farrell, Dr Elliott and Matron Ruth Tolley. Paediatrician Simon Frazer also attended the school’s awards evening, where he also thanked students.

For more information about the Rays a Smile appeal, to watch the appeal film and make a donation, visit https://bradfordhospitalscharity.org/rays-a-smile/. Alternatively, contact Hayley Collis or Elaine Drake on 01274 274809 or email charity@bthft.nhs.uk