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Children's ED campaigners launch drive for next million

Actors James Murray and Sarah Parish are set to visit Southampton Children’s Hospital on Friday (23 February) to kick-off the second phase of fundraising for the city’s new emergency and trauma department.

The appeal is being led by the couple’s charity The Murray Parish Trust (TMPT ) – set-up in memory of their daughter Ella-Jayne, who died in 2009 due to a congenital heart defect – and Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity, which is part of Southampton Hospital Charity.

As part of their visit, they will meet patients and staff including nine-year-old Connie Walker, who was treated by the trauma team after suffering a life-threatening head injury during an accident in 2015, and her family. 

The campaign reached the £1 million fundraising milestone earlier this year but a further million in donations is still required before the overall target of £4.8 million can be met, which will be made possible with £2 million from the government and a further £800,000 allocated by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

The new facility, which is expected to see more than 30,000 youngsters every year from across the south of England, will include a state-of-the-art eight-bed observation area, 11 glass-fronted and sound proof cubicles and on-hand x-ray facilities.

It will also include a dedicated reception, triage and waiting area for young patients, access to resuscitation facilities via a new link corridor, a nurse practitioner room and a safe room for children with mental health problems.

James said: “We have had a momentous year of fundraising and can’t thank our supporters enough for helping us reach this significant point in the campaign.

“It is all down to their commitment and dedication and we hope all of our supporters and many more people across the region will now join with us as we push on for the next million.”

Sarah added: “From personal experience, we have seen first-hand the compassion and skill of the clinicians working at Southampton Children’s Hospital. 

“The treatment provided is world-class across many specialties, including emergency medicine, though the facilities in the current children’s department are not in line with the expert care that is delivered there and we want to ensure it can offer the best environment to meet the demands of the future.”

Jeneen Thomsen, head of major gifts at Southampton Hospital Charity, said: “Through our partnership with The Murray Parish Trust we have raised more than £1 million in less than a year which is an amazing feat and we are so grateful to everyone who has been part of that journey.

“The demands on the emergency department and paediatric assessment unit grow every year and this new build will ensure a smoother system in a fitting environment which will improve the delivery of care and the overall experience for young patients and their families.” 

She added: “We want to thank James and Sarah for leading the launch of this second phase as we aim to reach the £2 million target by the end of the year.

“Whether it is through individual or group fundraising, corporate support or even by spreading the word on social media, every bit of support makes a huge difference.”

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