A school has moved a hospital charity a massive step closer to its £2m fundraising target by collecting nearly a quarter of the total on its own.
Staff, pupils and parents from Chepstow House School in Notting Hill have raised a whopping £243,922 to help the children’s intensive care unit (ICU) at St Mary’s Hospital save even more lives.
The Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, is raising the money through the More Smiles Appeal with the aim of expanding and renovating the existing children’s intensive care unit.
Among those backing it is the Duchess of Cambridge, who was impressed with the care she received at St Mary's when she had her two children.
The school, in Lancaster Road, had set itself a target of raising £100,000 through activities such as a readathon, chore challenge and fun days, and some of the children also organised their own ways of raising money by creating comic books and holding bake sales.
Head teacher Angela Barr said: “We are absolutely amazed by the amount we have raised. The children, parents and staff have done a brilliant job.
“Raising money for the children’s intensive care unit means a lot to our pupils because the unit could touch their lives. Choosing the More Smiles Appeal as our charity of the year has helped our pupils understand how fortunate they are.”
Hundreds of children currently turned away due to bed shortage
Around 400 patients are cared for in the children’s ICU at the Paddington hospital each year, but hundreds more critically ill children are turned away because it does not have enough beds, meaning they may be transferred hundreds of miles for treatment.
Last year, the unit had to turn away 233 children - more than half the number actually admitted.
The More Smiles Appeal, led by Imperial College Healthcare Charity and COSMIC, aims to create a new unit with 15 beds, almost doubling the current number, allowing more than 200 extra children to be cared for each year.
It will also include new equipment, a dedicated parents’ room and a private room allowing space for doctors and nurses to provide emotional support and care to families whose children are very seriously ill.
The money raised by the pupils and the school’s parents group, known as the Friends of Chepstow House, will be used to create the new parents’ room and a high dependency room.
The appeal’s fundraising and communications director, Josephine Watterson, thanked everyone who had contributed.
She said: “We would like to thank Chepstow House School for their generous support, which will help us save hundreds more children’s lives.”
The total costs of the project will be around £10 million, with the rst of the funds coming from Trust and Imperial College Healthcare Charity.