Children at St Mary's Hospital have been treated to a visit from Paddington Bear author Michael Bond CBE.
The 90-year-old and his wife visited the hospital in Paddington to donate dozens of his books to the hospital and sign copies for some of the children to take home.
He also answered questions from the young patients and they discovered that, like his much-loved character, he is a huge fan of marmalade and has it on his toast every morning.
Mr Bond said: "It has been brilliant to meet the children and see them enjoying my books. I never could have imagined that Paddington would be enjoyed for so many generations when I first started writing them and it is marvellous to see that he is still so loved.
"I really enjoyed the film adaptation - we went to see it in the cinema three times. It couldn't have been any better."
The children also found out that the character is named after Mr Bond's favourite station before a play specialist at the hospital read to the crowd from one of the books.
The event on Friday (29 July) was organised by Imperial College Healthcare Charity, which raises money for equipment, research and projects in the children's department at St Mary's Hospital. The charity supports wards and departments across the five hospitals of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
Josephine Watterson, the charity's fundraising and communications director, said: "The children were so excited to meet Mr Bond and it was wonderful to see so many smiling faces. We would like to say a huge thank you to him and his wife for taking the time to visit us and donate the books. Their support means so much to everyone at St Mary's Hospital."
Pedal power has helped to raise more than £8,000 for wards and departments across the Trust.
A team of 16 riders took part in Prudential RideLondon – Surrey 100 last weekend, and a special shout out goes to Richard Potter who completed the 100-mile course in just four hours and 36 minutes.
Some of the charity's riders were raising money for the More Smiles Appeal, which looks to raise at least £2 million for the redevelopment and expansion of the children’s intensive care unit at St Mary’s Hospital. Others took part for the development of the major trauma centre at St Mary’s which will help improve the rehabilitation patient experience.
Laura Watts, head of community and events fundraising at the charity, said: “With a combined total of 1592 miles between them, we think this is an amazing achievement. We’re really proud of our riders who completed such an incredible challenge and raised a fantastic amount for the charity.”
The riders looked the part in their special Imperial College Healthcare Charity tops, and even got their 15 seconds of fame on the BBC. You can view the clip (at about 5:50) by clicking here.
If you’d like to take part in something amazing while supporting a specific ward or department at the Trust, click here.
Dozens of patients, staff and their families put their best foot forward at the weekend to raise £16,000 for the Trust’s five hospitals.
Imperial College Healthcare Charity held its first ever Walk for Wards on Sunday (17 July), which saw 120 people walk a five or two mile circular route from Merchant Square in Paddington.
The charity raises money for research, equipment and projects at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, and money raised at the event will go to the walkers’ chosen wards and departments.
Laura Watts, head of community and events fundraising at the charity, said: “We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part. We are delighted with how much they raised. This money will help to make a real difference for patients and staff across Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
“We also want to thank the volunteers who helped to make this event a success – we couldn’t have done it without them.”
The five mile walk included Regent’s Canal, Primrose Hill, Regent’s Park, Baker Street, Marylebone and Merchant Square.
Among the patients taking part in the five mile walk was 54-year-old Selina Norfolk who signed up to thank St Mary’s Hospital for saving her life.
Selina, who has raised more than £485, was treated at the hospital in Paddington in June 2015 after developing life-threatening problems with her pancreas caused by years of excessive drinking.
The interior designer, who has been sober ever since, has made a full recovery.
“I took part in this five mile walk because I wanted to show my gratitude to the team at St Mary’s. Walk for Wards struck me as a really positive way to do something for myself as a recovering alcoholic,” she said.
Selina, who lives in Paddington, was diagnosed with severe acute pancreatitis,where the pancreas becomes inflamed over a short period of time, which can result in life-threatening complications, such as multiple organ failure.
In severe cases where complications develop, there's a high risk of the condition being fatal. In England, just over 1,000 people die from acute pancreatitis every year.
“At the time I didn’t realise how poorly I was, but I was at death’s door,” she said.
“My lungs, kidneys and heart were failing. I remember being taken to the high dependency unit and I asked the nurse if I was going to die. She replied ‘we’re doing everything we can for you’.”
“I was in hospital for three weeks and when I came out I just thought I’m not going to drink again. If I have one drink it will kill me,” said Selina.
Since 2009, Imperial College Healthcare Charity has awarded more than £20 million in grants to more than 400 pieces of clinical research and healthcare projects across the hospitals, all of which aim to improve patient healthcare.