A brand new MRI scanner has been lifted into the Friarage Hospital this week thanks to the fantastic hard work of fundraisers.
From daredevils who like to jump out of planes, to those who prefer quieter pastimes like knitting or baking, since the launch of the fundraising campaign a few years ago, members of the community have put their unique and quirky skills to the test to get behind the Friarage MRI Scanner appeal.
And their efforts will now see patients across Teesside and North Yorkshire benefit for years to come.
Paul Watkins, South Tees Hospital Charity’s head of fundraising, described seeing the MRI scanner being lifted into the hospital as the “realisation of years of hard work and fundraising” by generous members of the public.
“Without the generosity of various individuals and community groups who have put their hands in their pockets – or held one of the hundreds of weird and wonderful fundraising events we have seen over the last few years, this would not have been possible,” said Paul.
“A massive thank you has to go to every single person who has made a donation to the appeal to date, whether small change of £1 or £2, or thousands generated from organising an elaborate event.
“Every single penny has enabled us to bring this state-of-the-art scanner to The Friarage, helping to improve care for thousands of patients across the South Tees patch for years to come.”
Bill Waters, who raised more than £6,000 in less than a year for the campaign in memory of his wife Pamela, was amongst the onlookers watching the magnificent machine being lifted into the hospital at the weekend.
One of many faces of the campaign’s #MyReasonIs Twitter fundraising drive, Bill, who was involved in selling car raffle tickets and holding a regular tombola stall at the hospital, said: “I was absolutely delighted to see the scanner arrive on Sunday morning. I intend to carry on fundraising as long as I possibly can.”
Judith Masterman, a community fundraiser for the scanner appeal said: “It was one of the happiest days of my life to see the scanner lifted into its new home.
“I have had the privilege to meet so many amazing and wonderful people, who care about The Friarage Hospital and have raised funds – thank you all!”
As well as providing the crucial diagnostic test for numerous conditions to more people closer to their homes, the new MRI scanner will have the knock-on effect of reducing waiting times at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
Currently, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust carries out more than 27,000 scans every year at James Cook – 6,500 of which are for patients living in Hambleton and Richmondshire.
Throughout the fundraising campaign, South Tees Hospitals Charity worked in partnership with Friends of The Friarage, who generously pledged £500,000 towards the MRI scanner development on the ground floor of the Friarage, which has been delivered in partnership with Interserve.
Dr Upendra Somasundram, chairman of the Friends of The Friarage, said: “We are delighted to have been able to donate a significant amount to this fundraising campaign and would like to thank our supporters who have made this possible.
“We will continue to support the development of future hospital services in Northallerton through our fundraising, for the benefit of the local population.”
Tony Bellamy, chartered construction manager at Interserve, said: “It has been a privilege for Interserve to construct and work on this project.
“The hard work and dedication that the local community has committed has paid dividends, and Interserve is proud to be part of that.”
The scanner will be available for use by the first patients later this spring in its new home within the former special care baby unit at the hospital.
To reach our target fundraising by South Tees Hospitals Charity is still ongoing for The Friarage MRI scanner project.
Anybody who would like to make a donation or organise an event for the MRI Scanner Appeal can find out more at www.friaragescannerappeal.org.uk