THE WOMAN in charge of hospital fundraising says she has been overwhelmed by the town’s response to GWH’s multi-million pound appeals.

Over the last few years generous Swindonians have donated millions of pounds to successive appeals, helping the Marlborough Road hospital hit its £2.9m radiotherapy campaign target in February 2018 and raising more than £175,000 last winter for new premature baby incubators.

And Cat Newman, associate director of fundraising at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said none of it would have been possible were it not for everyone in the town who had donated, taken part in sponsored runs or lent their hand to charity bake sales.

It is two-and-a-half years since she started at the hospital: "Since I’ve joined I’ve been overwhelmed by how supportive our local community is and how passionate they are about their health service.

“The hospital touches so many lives. Brighter Futures is an enabler. We help people top support the areas of the hospital they love most. Without people’s support we would never have brought in the amount of money we have done.

“I think the town should be really proud of what they’ve helped the hospital do.”

One of Brighter Futures’ biggest campaigns of recent years has been the radiotherapy appeal.

Last February, fundraisers announced they had hit the appeal’s £2.9m target.

The cash will be used to kit out a radiotherapy unit at the Marlborough Road hospital preventing Swindon cancer patients having to make the 70-mile round trip to Oxford’s Churchill Hospital.

Earlier this summer government announced it would be giving a loan to Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which will operate the £18.4m unit, meaning work could start on the new centre by next spring.

Thousands of people raised money and awareness for the radiotherapy appeal. But Cat said Dave and Sheila Hobbs’ story was one that would always stay with her.

The Ramsbury couple have both battled cancer diagnoses in the past and, in 2016, Dave almost died after passing out at home. A month later doctors told him he had bowel cancer. He went to GWH for treatment, telling the Adver in 2017: “The diagnosis was terrible, but it gave me a great sense of determination. I was very positive from the day I went into hospital. There were times when I did think my end had come.”

The couple, both keen amateur actors, put on a Shakespeare-inspired stage show to raise money for Brighter Futures.

Cat said of the couple: “It was such a difficult time for the family. All they thought of was helping the hospital radiotherapy appeal.”

For more about current appeals, contact Brighter Futures on 01793 605631 or