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Redbridge group makes donation to hospital charity’s Robotic Surgery Appeal

PUBLISHED: 15:00 05 November 2020

The donation made by the group will help the charity own the robotic arm outright, according to head of fundraising Lynda Head. Picture: Redbridge Gujarati Welfare Association

The donation made by the group will help the charity own the robotic arm outright, according to head of fundraising Lynda Head. Picture: Redbridge Gujarati Welfare Association

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A Redbridge group has donated to the Robotic Surgery Appeal being run by the King George and Queen’s Hospitals charity.

The Redbridge Gujarati Welfare Association has donated £7451 to the King George and Queen's Hospital Charity to help with its ongoing Robotic Surgery Appeal. Picture: Redbridge Gujarati Welfare AssociationThe Redbridge Gujarati Welfare Association has donated £7451 to the King George and Queen's Hospital Charity to help with its ongoing Robotic Surgery Appeal. Picture: Redbridge Gujarati Welfare Association

The Redbridge Gujarati Welfare Association (RGWA) — an Ilford charity established for more than 25 years — chose to prioritise this appeal during the pandemic, alongside the PM Cares Fund in India.

Its members did so after learning more about the Da Vinci XI Robotic Arm, a piece of technology which facilitates less invasive surgeries.

The robotic arm has already been purchased for both hospitals’ use, with the £1millon appeal ongoing to ensure the loan used to fund its purchase can be paid back in full.

Predominantly used for cancer surgeries, the arm is an invaluable innovation, albeit one which came at the steep cost of £1.5m.

RGWA member Pat Nakum described the £7451 donation as “an excellent way of saying thank you to NHS and the staff who work for NHS and carry out this wonderful job of looking after us all, in this difficult time”.

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The charity’s head of fundraising Lynda Head also expressed her gratitude: “We are so pleased that the group offered to support us. This donation will really help us get one step closer to owning our robotic arm outright.”

Speaking to the Recorder last week, Lynda explained that the charity’s modest size means there has never been “£1.5m to spend on anything”.

However, after conversations with hospital surgeons, the team were determined to make it happen: “We got the robotic arm on a three-year no interest loan to be paid back in instalments. We took delivery of it last December, but only just got it unwrapped before Covid hit. Once elective surgeries resumed we were able to use it again.”

Thankfully, the first instalment was paid in full due to an “incredibly generous legacy” from Mary Maud White, a former cancer services volunteer at Oldchurch Hospital.

Describing it as “really fitting” that Mary’s legacy could be spent on innovation for cancer services, Lynda said the charity is currently chipping away at the second instalment.

The third and final payment is where problems may arise, she warned, because of how coronavirus has disrupted fundraising opportunities.

This makes the association’s donation particularly vital: “Groups like the RGWA have been so supportive, especially during the pandemic. We were over the moon to receive this gift.”


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