Busy time for home as it marks 95 years

The first sky diving fundraisers
The first sky diving fundraisers

THE Queen Alexandra Hospital Home in Worthing has been marking its 95th anniversary in style – by raising record amounts of money.

Assisting disabled servicemen and women since July 9, 1919, the hospital home in Boundary Road has had a busy few months of fundraising to continue its vital services.

The charity needs to raise £1.3million each year to continue with its nursing and rehabilitation services.

A team of 140 staff, both clinical and non-clinical, are on call to look after the 60 residents, who range in age from 29 to 104 and who have served in the Royal Navy, Army and RAF.

The residents suffer from a number of complex disabilities including mental disabilities, conditions such as Parkinson’s, Acquired Brain Injury or Motor Neurone Disease. Others are paralysed, do not have use of their limbs or are terminally ill. Tanya Sharp, a fundraiser at Queen Alexandra, said: “The aim is for everybody to leave and go back and live independently in the community.”

She added that sometimes this was not possible and this is why the services the home provides are so important.

In the last few months, the home has hosted a range of events for the residents and community. In July, Princess Alexandra, the president of the charity, visited the home.

During the visit, Princess Alexandra toured the building visiting residents as well as viewing the recent kitchen upgrade, which cost £296,000.

The festivities continued in July with an open day featuring performances from swing quintet Zoot Zazou, Band of the Bugles and Flash Mob Jazz.

More than 400 people attended the event, which was hosted by Nicholas Witchell and raised £9,500.

The day featured children’s activities as well as an opportunity to meet residents and learn more about the organisation.

Tanya said: “Events like this are important because raising awareness is crucial to fundraising. Not only are we putting on an enjoyable day for people but they get to enjoy it with our residents.”

On August 1 and 2, fundraising took to the skies with 68 volunteers taking part in a parachute jump, sponsored by Equiniti, at Hinton Skydive Centre in Northamptonshire.

Many veterans, as well as volunteers and staff, took part in the jump, including event ambassador and former RAF pilot Rory Underwood and Royal Navy veteran amputee Richard Hunt.

Rory, who jumped despite his fear of heights, said: “Having spent 18 years flying with the RAF, it was an honour to jump alongside those who have raised funds for disabled ex-servicemen and women. I visited the hospital home in June and was very impressed with the standard of care and excellent facilities.”

The two-day event raised £45,000 – £15,000 more than the target sum.

One of the jumpers was Julie Dodsworth, who raised £3,953 by jumping on behalf of her husband Nathan, who is a resident at the home.

Nathan suffered from two brain haemorrhages and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He was left permanently disabled.

Tanya added: “I’m just so proud as I don’t know of anyone else in the local area who is raising as much money as we are.” She said next year’s challenge will be a wing walk with the aim of raising £60,000.

On October 4 at Fontwell Park Racecourse Southern Water will be hosting its 8th annual charity race day, with Queen Alexandra Hospital Home as the sole beneficiary.

The race day will include performances by the Military Wives Choir, the Flash Mob jazz band and The Band of the Corps of the Royal Engineers. The public can compete against the Army in a Powerbag challenge, take photographs with a spitfire and military vehicles and watch the mascot obstacle race. There will also be a funfair, bouncy castle and face-painting.

Representatives from the Royal Navy armed forces and RAF as well as local cadets will all be attending event.

For tickets, visit www.fontwellpark.co.uk