Words and video by Kyle Arthur and Connor Taylor-Parton
Sitting on the ground floor of Bristol’s Royal Infirmary [BRI], a small office with a single modest desk and two dark blue swivel chairs houses big ambition.
Originally founded under the name ‘The Special Trustees,’ Above and Beyond has been at the forefront of healthcare in Bristol since its inception in 1974. The charity aims to support the major hospitals in the city – including the Children’s hospital, the Haematology and Oncology centre [BHOC] and the Bristol Heart Institute [BHI] – helping to fund vital projects not typically included in the NHS budget.
Artefact sits down with Faye, the bubbly personality behind a number of Above and Beyond’s campaigns and a participant in this year’s Bristol to Paris fundraising cycle.
“Through the hard work of our supporters, many of them patients wanting to give a little something back, we’ve been able to raise an incredible amount of money,” Faye says.
Above and Beyond’s Bristol to Paris cycle is just one of the fundraising events undertaken by the charity each year. Similarly challenging feats range from the London to Amsterdam cycle, sponsors in the London marathon and even skydiving and abseiling.
“We’ve had a 72-year-old man, a former patient at the BHI, complete a 48-hour static bike ride and had another ex-patient complete 60 swims for her 60th birthday, each of them in ice-cold waters,” Faye says. “Our supporters are simply amazing.”
Back in 2016, the charity reached its massive £6 million ‘Golden Gift Appeal’ goal with funds supporting the introduction of the first adult bone marrow transplant unit in the south-west, as well as the refurbishment of the Haematology ward in the BHOC and the ground-up renovation of the BRI. Striving for a “safe, modern environment fit for 21st century care, the charity has since set itself a new goal of £1.53 million for the renovation of another ward that provides chemo and radiotherapy treatments to patients.
“While wards across Bristol city centre have benefitted from refurbishment in recent years, Ward D603 has not been updated since the 1970’s… The environment in which cancer patients are treated no longer meets the demands of 21st century care.”
The charities platform has grown expenentially over the past few years, Above and Beyond now fundraise annually at Bristol Balloon Fiesta. A four day event at Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons, attracting over 130 Hot Air Balloons from across the globe.
Above and Beyond encourage followers to get involved by purchasing their lottery ticket, donating on their website or taking part in a fundraiser. With an already impressive growth, and the continuous help of the community, changes will come to benefit those in critical situations.
Above and Beyond state their mission is to make a real difference to patient care for more than 989,000 patients treated every year, as well as the millions of friends and family who visit them, and the 9,000 NHS staff who care for them.
For more information please visit: https://www.aboveandbeyond.org.uk