Friends spend £47k supporting Richardson hospital
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
ALMOST £47,000 was spent by the Friends of Richardson Hospital supporting staff and patients last year.
The group’s annual meeting was told the year ended in a strong financial position, with the friends showing a balance of £171,197, a figure which was boosted significantly by a £33,000 legacy from the late Peggy Bateson.
Donations for the year totalled £1,568, down on 2018 by £1,334.
Fundraising was also slightly lower than the previous year at £1,880, but interest on deposits added £2,184.
The charity’s expenditure totalled £46,808, which was up £31,963 compared to 2018, and included the purchase of specialist equipment, furniture and training.
A tree sculpture to celebrate 70 years of the NHS was the largest purchase at £14,360.
Continuing to support healthcare in the community, new exercise bikes costing £9,670 were purchased for Stroke Association classes at Teesdale Leisure Centre .
A request for the friends to pay for the servicing of air purifiers was made at a cost of £1,246.
Other purchases included headphones, toiletry packs, aromatherapy oils and equipment for the beds. Among the items purchased for Starling Ward was a £2,940 dishwasher to save staff running up and down stairs.
Aside from fundraising matters, the meeting was told the highlight of the year was the celebrations marking the NHS anniversary.
This included a specially commissioned sculpture, the Richardson Tree, by local artist Michael Kusz.
Honorary secretary Iris Hillery said: “We had some good publicity with the 70th celebrations. The tree sculpture brought a lot of attention and it has been a good investment.”
In her report, chairwoman, Anne Jones paid tribute to Marie Yarker, who died in December. Ms Jones said: “We were very sorry for the loss of our vice-chairman and former chairman.
“She was well cared for in her final days at the Richardson by the dedicated nursing team and we are all missing her very much.”
Reviewing the year, she added: “Donations and fundraising were slightly lower than in 2017, perhaps reflecting our emphasis on the celebrations but we are now receiving interest on accounts where reserves have been invested.”
“We have been very fortunate to have legacies.”
Ms Jones added the friends continue to work positively with County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and Community Health Partnerships to support and develop the services available at the hospital and in the community and hope to concentrate more on fundraising events.