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Marathon mum takes on 26.2 mile challenge for St Helier’s Neonatal Unit

A grateful mum is running the London Marathon to raise money for the Neonatal Unit at St Helier Hospital as a thank you to the service that saved her twins’ lives when they were born 11 weeks early.

Local Carshalton mother of three, Camelia Garrett, 47, is taking on the 26.2 mile challenge to give something back to the team who cared for her children when they arrived prematurely back in 2003. Camelia said: “The twins are going to be 18 later this year, but I still remember those early days being cared for on the Neonatal Unit like it was yesterday.

“When Etti and Owain were born so early, it was an immensely frightening and distressing time, but the Neonatal Department were absolutely fantastic in every way. Using my London Marathon place to fundraise for the department seemed like the perfect opportunity to give back to them, and to support the wonderful staff who work there now.”

But in fact, some of the staff who cared for Etti and Owain still work in the department and remember caring for Camelia and her children. Fiona Herbert, now the Department’s Administration Manager, said: “I have worked here for 25 years, and still remember Camelia and the twins when I was a clinical member of staff. It’s always difficult when newborns need care with us, so the fact that Camelia thinks of us fondly and is fundraising for the department is really lovely. Of course, we wish her the very best of luck and hope she’ll pay us a visit with her medal!”

Camelia has undertaken a gruelling training regime to get ready for the big day on Sunday 3 October and her aim is to complete the event in five and a half hours. Commenting on her training, Camelia said: “I am sure all of the hard work will pay off! But I couldn’t do any of it without the continued support and encouragement from my family and friends!”

To support Camelia’s fundraising, please visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Camelia-Garrett1.

If you would like to take on a challenge or host an event to raise funds for Epsom and St Helier hospitals (even a specific ward or community service), please visit www.esthcharity.org.uk

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Epsom and St Helier Hospitals Charity Lottery has two £1000 winners!

Two lucky staff members have each bagged themselves £1000 from playing Epsom and St Helier Hospitals Charity Lottery for just £1 a week. See what they had to say about winning!


Emma who works at the Woodlands Nursery at St Helier Hospital said: ‘The funny thing was that I was at the hospital cashiers with my friend, and when I saw the Lottery leaflets there I told her that I played it but that I’d not won anything yet. Then a week later, I got home on a Monday evening, and there was a letter with the cheque inside – it was such a lovely surprise! First of all, I used some of it to treat my family to a really nice meal. And then it came in very handy to fix the car when the exhaust fell off! I’m saving the rest for a rainy day.’


Thomas, a doctor at Epsom Hospital, said: ‘I had signed up online about a year ago at £1 every week. I recently returned from a visit to my parents and bereaved aunt in India to find the cheque in my letter box. I was extremely grateful to God for having won this. The travel home had been very expensive with all the COVID testing, multiple cancellations and rebooking at escalated rates. Though this amount didn’t cover it, it helped ease the burden.’


So if you’d like the chance to win £1000 or even the £25,000 jackpot you have to be in it to win it! Sign up today and you’ll be supporting the hospitals and community services at the same time!

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Toyota grant gives Magic Carpet Appeal some vroom!

We are delighted to announce that Toyota, which has its UK headquarters in Epsom, has granted a massive £1750 to its local hospital for Casey Ward’s Magic Carpet Appeal.

We love that Toyota’s tagline is ‘Let’s Go Places’ and its brand is all about inspiring a sense of adventure because the Magic Carpet experience will enable young patients to ‘go places’ too even while they’re in hospital – from fish ponds to solar systems to name but a few! It also comes with lots of exciting games and sensory applications to provide even more options for much needed distraction and entertainment!

Its’s great to have Toyota’s support and with other generous donations and pledges from the community, the appeal is on course to reach its target very soon!

Virginmoneygiving.com/fund/Casey-Carpet

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The Captain Tom 100 Challenge

ESTH Charity is getting behind The Captain Tom 100 Challenge and we would love you to get involved this month and help raise funds for your local hospitals! Whether you go solo or join a team, all you need to do is come up with a challenge based around the number 100 and to do it between Friday 30th April and Monday 3rd May.

Ideas include:

Organise a 100 mile/km cycle ride

Walk 100 laps of your garden

Bake 100 cup cakes

Stay silent for 100 minutes

Sing for 100 minutes

Do 100 hula-hoops

The world is your oyster with this challenge. There are no rules (apart from Government guidelines on the roadmap out of lockdown) and it’s open to everyone.

Do it your way and have fun! For more information and to sign up, go to Just Giving or Virgin Money Giving today!

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It’s a kind of magic – children’s ward appeal flies high with Theo the Magician !

Epsom and St Helier Hospitals Charity is delighted to announce that award-winning Theo the Magician will be hosting a fun interactive online magic show to raise money for the dedicated children’s ward at Epsom Hospital.

Theo the Magician’s magical event will support Casey Ward’s appeal to fund a ‘magic carpet’ for the young patients on the ward. With a mobile projector, motion sensor and interactive mat and lots of preinstalled games and apps, the Magic Carpet provides children with a range of activities for physical, mental or sensory stimulation, from being transported to a virtual seaside, to taking part in a dance off or completing a puzzle.  

And even more importantly for these times, play can be touchless while the mat is easy to clean and sanitise between users.

Well know Sutton resident and member of the prestigious Magic Circle and Equity, Theo Theodoris, normally performs shows all over Surrey and South London, but is currently delighting young audiences using the magic of zoom to bring abracadabra into the room!

His show, exclusively for the Magic Carpet Appeal, will be at 10am on Saturday 10 April. Bookings will remain open until midday on Friday 9 April. The show will last around an hour and will contain tricks, illusions, and games to suit children of all ages.

For your invitation and more information, the Charity and Theo kindly request a minimum donation of £10 for every child who watches the show. Every penny will go towards the appeal.

This won’t be the first time Theo has chosen to support his local hospitals. Back in 2003 he raised a staggering £17,000 for St Helier’s neonatal unit who saved the life of his daughter Elena who was born 10 weeks early and weighed just 2lbs. Since then, he has continued to hold numerous fundraising events for the unit bringing the total, so far, up to £25,000! This includes his Magic Sunflower Competitions and during last year’s lockdown he also chose to donate some of the fundraising to the Charity’s Covid Appeal.

Theo said: “I’m delighted to be able to help entertain the kids with my fun interactive magic show while at the same time helping Casey Ward get this exciting piece of equipment, powered by digital magic! Unfortunately, I know all too well the anguish of having a child who is very poorly and needs hospital care. But I also know that the children’s team at Epsom always know what’s best for their young patients and are fully committed to them. I have no doubt that this magic carpet will make a real difference to the kids on Casey Ward.”

To book your ticket for Theo’s magic show, please make your donation at virginmoneygiving.com/fund/Casey-Carpet (you can do this as a guest). Then email team@esthcharity.org.uk with your contact details and the number of children participating, and their ages. Alternatively, you can donate over the phone by calling the Charity on 01372 735 262.

For more information about Theo the Magician please visit: www.magictheo.com.

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In memory of a much-loved mum – family raise £5,000 for St Helier ICU !

The family of a much-loved mum and grandmother who sadly passed away with Covid-19 in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at St Helier Hospital have raised more than £5,000 for the department.

Despite the very best efforts of staff in the hospital, Kailas Patel passed away on Wednesday 10 February, aged 66. Despite their grief during this difficult time, Kailas’ family are incredibly grateful for all the care and support that both she and they received from the ICU teams who tried so hard to save her. So to say thank you to staff and to honour the memory of Kailas, her three children Kinjal, Binti and Anish, decided to set up a fundraising page for St Helier ICU.  

Kinjal said: “While mum was in Intensive Care, we would phone multiple times a day and sometimes late at night to speak to her, or get an update. Without fail, the nurses were always so kind, compassionate and patient. We were able to hold our mother as she took her final breaths and for that we will be eternally grateful. The money we raise will go towards providing critical care to all those who need it especially during these difficult times. The staff were really human about it.  We can’t thank them enough.” 

And in just a matter of days, the page has already raised over £5,000.

Kinjal added: “It just goes to show how special my mother was and how much she meant to so many people, even though I don’t think she realised it.  She was a phenomenal and renowned Gujarati home-cook. People travelled from near and far for her cooking and she was regularly asked to help out with catering at weddings. She was always smiling, so welcoming and easy going.”

Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles said: “On behalf of the Trust, I would like to pass our heartfelt condolences to Kailas’ family and loved ones. It is remarkable that, in a time of profound grief, Kailas’ children have found the strength to fundraise for the department where their mum was cared for. I would like to say a huge thank you to the whole family, and to everyone who has donated so far. It is incredibly generous.”

Dr Viplaw Shukla, Consultant Intensivist, said:  “We are immensely grateful for the generosity of Kailas Patel’s family and friends. Of course, like them, we very much wish Kailas was still with us. However, their fundraising is a wonderful testament to the ICU teams and for the care and commitment they provide for their patients. Kailas was a strong woman only in her sixties, and yet Covid was still able to take her despite our best efforts. Therefore, we absolutely implore everyone take up the vaccine as soon as it’s offered, especially among BAME communities.

If you would like to make a contribution to Kailas Patel’s family’s fundraising for St Helier ICU, please visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/anish-patel-1

Alternatively you can still donate to the Charity’s general Covid appeal which is: www.justgiving.com/campaign/ThankYouESTH

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Pods provide peace and quiet for Epsom and St Helier staff

Hardworking staff at Epsom and St Helier can now make the most of their breaks or find a moment of relaxation after a busy shift, thanks to a generous loan of two sleep pods.

The two space-age looking pods are designed specifically for twenty-minute power naps, and come complete with a hooded privacy visor and the option to play pre-programmed music or a relaxation guide. This means valued NHS staff are able to rejuvenate their minds and body in the break of a busy shift, or before heading home after clocking off for the day.

Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles said: “Team ESTH always work hard to provide the best care to our patients, but the effort and determination they have shown through COVID-19 has been phenomenal. If anyone deserves to put their feet up for 20 minutes and make the most of a lunch break, it’s our staff!

“Evidence shows that for most people, a short 15 to 20-minute nap can help to reduce the impact of tiredness on people’s ability to function and can improve performance. But more importantly than that, being able to take a moment to relax and recuperate will be a real boost for the health and wellbeing of our staff, which in turn, has a positive effect on patient care and experience”.

Dr Shakil Rahman, Lead Respiratory Consultant at the Trust, has been at the very forefront of the Trust’s response to COVID-19, leading the team who cared for some of the sickest COVID-19 patients. He said: ‘I’ve tried the sleep pod and I can’t believe – even for a poor sleeper like me – how refreshed I feel. I will definitely be using it again and encouraging everyone to try some power naps, especially the junior doctors who work and study incredibly hard. I’ve been so proud of how the respiratory team and all my ESTH colleagues have faced the immense challenges of this pandemic, and I truly think their health and wellbeing has never been so important.”

The sleep pods have kindly been loaned to Epsom and St Helier Hospitals Charity by the company Restworks for a free two-month trial but – if the feedback from staff continues to be positive the charity could look to purchase them on a long-term basis. The Charity always welcome support from local people and businesses – if you would like to make a donation to this or any other project, please contact the team by email at team@esthcharity.org.uk or call 01372 735262.

For more information about Epsom and St Helier Hospitals Charity (registered charity number 1049197) visit www.esthcharity.org.uk.

For more information on Restworks, please visit: www.rest.works.

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COVID-19: Thank You

The kindness of our local communities during COVID-19 has been amazing!

Like NHS staff up and down the country, the teams at Epsom and St Helier have been working incredibly hard to care for patients and to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

During this challenging time, staff at the hospitals and in community services have been truly bolstered by the support from our local communities, and we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has made a donation, created art to celebrate staff, or joined the weekly #clapforcarers. Over the last few weeks, hundreds of people and local companies have reached out to our hospitals and community services to express their gratitude for staff, including 1,000 free meals for staff from a generous philanthropist, and a father and son-in-law duo who shaved their hair off!

Donations have also come in from local individuals, community groups and sports clubs, schools, as well as lots of companies including TK Maxx, Uber, Boots, Pizza Express, KFC, Dominos, Fireaway, Starbucks, Eucerin Skincare, Eve Beds, Café Nero, Pure Food Systems, Michael Clark, Costco, Asda, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Lidl, Morrisons, Tesco, M&S, Debenhams, Wilsons, Wow Hydrate, Tropical Skin Care, Sodafolk, Howdens, Dukes Head Wallington, AJ Building, Scott Dunn Travel, North Woodcote Green Nurseries and Miller Harris with more coming in every day. Nike have also offered their support, donating around 400 trainers and sports kits!

We are currently facing uncharted waters as we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, but one constant always remains. In times of crisis you can rely on #TeamESTH (Epsom and St Helier Hospitals) to be here for you and your family.

Joint Medical Director Dr Ruth Charlton, said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to offer their support over the past few weeks. Our staff are going above and beyond to protect and care for our patients, keep services running and reduce the risk to the public, fellow colleagues and their loved ones. Of course, our staff will be here for you whatever happens and our commitment to help keeping people safe and as well as possible will not change.

“We are doing as much as we can to make life a little easier for our staff, including offering free parking, additional psychological and health and wellbeing support, and our onsite shops have changed their stock to include fresh vegetables and home essentials, and are offering protected shopping time for staff.

“We have received some very touching messages of support for our staff, as well as some very generous donations and discount offers – these gestures are greatly appreciated by our teams and a great boost to morale in this busy and difficult time. We owe everyone who has already donated, whether big or small, a huge thank you.”

While our staff take care of us during these very challenging times, with your support we can help take care of them through this crisis.

If you would like to say ‘Thank You’ with a small donation to support our amazing staff at Epsom and St Helier Hospitals and community services, it would be greatly appreciated. Your donation will help fund what our staff and hospitals need most to help them through this pandemic. justgiving.com/campaign/ThankYouESTH

If you have any queries, or would like us to pass on messages to the staff who cared for you, please email us at team@esthcharity.org.uk or call 01372 735262. Follow us on Twitter @EsthCharity, or like our Facebook page @esthcharity.