HRH Prince Charles met members of the Charity on his visit to Bedford on 3 December 2013. Here he is in St Paul's church at the Christmas Tree Festival complimenting one of the Trustees, Helen Nellis, on the work of the charity. When he was told how much had been raised over the years, he joked "have you got any friends left?!"
The Bedford Hospitals Charity was founded in 1988 by a group of local people, initially to raise money to refurbish the dilapidated and antiquated Student Nurse Home at Bedford Hospital South Wing. Since then it has raised over £7½ million for a number of projects. The largest was £2.35 million raised in the Primrose Appeal to build a new Oncology Unit, and more recently £400,000 towards state-of-the-art cancer screening equipment in the Endoscopy Department, and £200,000 towards refurbishment of the Cygnet Wing. The charity has recently finished raising £600,000 for new Gamma Camera facilities in the X-ray Department. The current appeal, the Challenge Cancer Appeal, is for £750,000 to develop and improve cancer services throughout the hospital.
The key to the Charity's success has been its ability to work closely with the local community and the hospital itself. Most of the money has been raised through the generosity of local people, either supporting events organised by the committee, or organising events themselves in support of appeals. There have also been a few large individual donations. Other charitable trusts, particularly local ones, have been very supportive. Hard work and commitment have created success and thanks are due to the army of regular helpers, who give so much time to the Charity.