The brand new state-of-the-art X-ray Department at Leatherhead Hospital has been declared officially open by the original quizmaster of University Challenge, Bamber Gascoigne.
The new unit, which has undergone a top-to-toe refurbishment and is now home to a cutting edge X-ray machine worth £190,000, was opened in front of a crowd of delighted staff and volunteers from the hospital’s League of Friends.
Bamber and his family have a long connection with Leatherhead Hospital – a wing of the hospital was officially opened by his grandmother, Lady Gascoigne, in 1940. Then a year later, when Bamber was staying at his grandmother’s home in Ashtead because of heavy bombing in London, he needed a routine operation and had personal experience of being a patient.
After unveiling the commemorative plaque that marked the official opening, Bamber said: I am absolutely thrilled to declare the new X-ray Department open. It is a pleasure to be here, in the hospital where I had my tonsils removed all those years ago. My grandmother was a huge supporter of this hospital, and was immensely proud of the work that happened here. I am delighted that the hard work continues and you now have an X-ray Department that reflects your commitment to patients.”
The League of Friends of the Leatherhead Hospital funded the total cost of just over £500,000. Their Chairman, Audrey Mellers, said: “A project of the size can take years to organise and fundraise for, so this official opening comes with a great sense of pride and achievement. I would like to thank all of the volunteers – past and present – for their hard work, and every person who has donated their time or money to us in recent years.” As a token of thanks and a memento of the day, Audrey then presented Bamber with a framed photograph of his grandmother opening the Gascoigne wing more than 75 years ago.
Chief Executive of Epsom and St Helier hospitals (the organisation that runs the Leatherhead X-ray service), Daniel Elkeles, said: “I would like to thank Bamber for taking the time to open our brand new X-ray Department – it is a brilliant new facility with a warm and welcoming environment and fantastic equipment. And of course, I would like to pay tribute to the dedication of the League of Friends – their hard work has really paid off and is of real benefit to our patients.”
James Blythe, Director of Commissioning and Strategy at NHS Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group (which buys X-ray services at the hospital), said: “The new X-ray suite and equipment will help improve an important service for the local community. I would like to thank the League of Friends for their ongoing support of Leatherhead Hospital and their generous donation.”
For more information about the League of Friends of the Leatherhead Hospital, including how you can support them, visit www.leatherheadhospitalfriends.org.uk.