Give an extra special present this Christmas to help hospital appeal

Margaret Kerr Unit at the BGH gets off the ground with an appeal for Christmas. L-r, Clare Oliver, Samantha Dunlop, Annabel Howell and Cameron Fergus.
Margaret Kerr Unit at the BGH gets off the ground with an appeal for Christmas. L-r, Clare Oliver, Samantha Dunlop, Annabel Howell and Cameron Fergus.

organisers of the campaign to raise the final £1 million needed for a specialist inpatient palliative care unit in the region are urging Borderers to make a donation instead of sending Christmas cards this festive season.

Even just a single £5 note given to the Margaret Kerr Unit Appeal instead of one pack of cards can help make a real difference, according to Fundraising Manager, Clare Oliver.

“Christmas time is the season of giving, so this year we are urging people to please give a little extra and make a donation to The appeal,” she explained.

She added: “The theme of the public fundraising appeal is ‘tying’, so as you tie your bows onto your Christmas presents or your decorations onto your tree, please spare a thought for those for whom this Christmas will be the last one that they share with family and friends.

“If every person in the Borders donates just £5 this festive season, we will raise more than half of the remaining one million pounds that we need to build this very special unit, to provide in-patient specialist palliative care for our community.”

And she added that when it comes to raising money, every donation no matter how large or small is vital.

She explained: “We’ve had letters from people apologising that they can only donate £100.

“That is a fantastic amount, but every donation, even just a £5 note, helps bring this new unit closer to existence. The appeal to raise the final £1million was only launched in September, but already £20,000 has been donated.

“The money is steadily coming in and people have started registering their charity fundraising events with us.”

Dr Cameron Fergus, Consultant in Palliative Medicine at the Borders General Hospital, says more and more people are becoming aware of the appeal and the necessity of such a dedicated unit.

“This winter will see a lot of people planning their charity fundraising events for next spring and summer, and we hope they will be thinking of the Margaret Kerr Unit Appeal when it comes to deciding which charity they’re going to support,” Dr Fergus told us.

He added: “We’re hoping work will start on the unit next year and people will then actually be able to see where their money is going.

“While the standard of care people receive at the moment has received huge praise, the surroundings in which that care is delivered are less than ideal and that is why this new unit will be so important.

“The more comfortable, quiet and relaxing the surroundings, the better it is for the patient.”

Ms Oliver added that people who have been recently bereaved and whose loved ones received care from the hospital’s palliative care team are among those who have been sending in donations.

She added: “Even though the member of family or the friend they lost hasn’t lived to see the new unit come into existence, they have been so grateful for the care received from the team they have wanted to give something back.

“And small amounts of money really do add up and people can also Gift Aid their donations. By texting a donation it means people can do it right then and there with no hassle and it will make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Making a donation is so easy. You can give on line at www.justgiving.com/Margaret-Kerr-Unit-Appeal; text £5 TMKU83 to 70070 or send a cheque payable to ‘The Margaret Kerr Unit’ to Clare Oliver, Rushbank, Newstead, TD6 9DA.

And you can also go online to www.thedifference.org.uk and send a digital Christmas card and just click on the Justgiving link to make your donation.