Borders diners raise £26k for specialist hospital equipment

A donation of more than £26,000 has been served up to the children and baby wards at the Borders General Hospital in Melrose.

Thursday, 24th October 2019, 12:00 am
Updated Thursday, 24th October 2019, 1:46 pm
Karen Williamson and Emma Allan, Advanced Paediatric Nurse Practitioners, Children’s Ward and SCBU, BGH, James and Elaine Marjoribanks, Dinner Organisers, Bill Copeland, After Dinner Speaker and Jack Clark, Auctioneer.

The annual Borders Change Foundation charity dinner, held at the Lodge at Carfraemill, and attended by nearly 200 people, this year raised more than £26,500 for the special care baby unit and paediatrics ward at the hospital.

Now in its 21st year, the annual fundraiser, organised by Melrose couple James and Elaine Marjoribanks, has amassed more than £465,000 in total for deserving causes throughout the region.

And thanks to this year’s effort, a new SimBaby, a tetherless simulator manikin of a nine-month-old child, can be bought for training uses in the baby and children’s wards.

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James said: “The continued generosity of those at the dinner and the support from those who, once more, bought tables to attend is fantastic.

“We make sure we give everyone a night they really enjoy and, at the same time, raise a lot of money for such a wonderful piece of equipment for the Borders General Hospital.”

James, a former chairman of the Margaret Kerr Unit appeal, also helped fundraise for the dialysis unit at the hospital.

He said he started the dinners with the aim of donating to healthcare causes on an annual basis.

“I have a lot to be grateful to the NHS for and I wanted to try put something back,” he added. “The best part is giving people the cheques and knowing the difference it will make.

“The hospital has a SimBaby but it is about 12 years old and can now be replaced. The consultants and nurses use it for training purposes and it’s even been used to help with diagnosing rare conditions.”

Advanced paediatric nurses Karen Williamson and Emma Allan represented the children and baby wards at the dinner, at which after-dinner speaker Bill Copeland gave the address and Jack Clark led the charity auction.

James added: “Elaine and I would like to thank all those who generously donated auction and raffle prizes and all those that attended the dinner to make it the success that it really is.

“At the end of the night, to be able to say to Karen and Emma that they can now get the new SimBaby for the special care baby unit is special and makes it all worthwhile.”

Andrew Duncan, a doctor in baby care and paediatrics at the hospital, added: “This new SimBaby will allow us to give more realism to the training of staff in maternity, paediatric and emergency departments.

“This training has already proved invaluable in enhancing the care of babies and children locally and enables us to provide the safest possible care for such vulnerable patients.”

“Many thanks to James and Elaine for all their efforts in raising more than our target for the SimBaby and we’re delighted that we can think about how best to use the excess for the benefit of paediatrics.”

Previous dinners have funded donations to the likes of the stroke unit and Macmillan centre at the Borders General Hospital and Doddie Weir’s motor neurone disease research charity, My Name’5 Doddie.