Bicester Community Hospital is getting a new patient transport vehicle, donated by the League of Friends. The £14,000 Fiat Doblo will be used by the therapy team to transport patients with restricted mobility. It will accommodate the widest wheelchair and is adapted with an electric winch, which allows a wheelchair user to be assisted into the vehicle easily via a ramp.

The vehicle will be handed over to the hospital on Saturday 1 June in a ceremony outside the hospital from 12:30 onwards. The ceremony will be attended by the Mayor of Bicester Jason Slaymaker, the Chairman of Oxfordshire County Council, Les Sibley, members of the hospital staff and members of the League of Friends. Members of the public are also welcome.

The new vehicle will be used to take patients for a home visit before discharge from the hospital so that the therapy team can assess what kind of adjustments and equipment they may need at home. The vehicle will replace an older one from 2001, known locally as the Gold Nugget, which also was also donated by the League of Friends.

“We had a discussion last year about the possibility of replacing the Gold Nugget; there was money in the bank, so it was a unanimous decision to look for a replacement,” tells committee member Valerie Sullivan from the League of Friends.

“We purchased it from Fleximobility in Carterton. Their sales manager Radu was extremely helpful, and we were given a great deal of help in choosing the new vehicle. They will also arrange a yearly service for us, collecting and returning the vehicle, and providing a spare if we need it. The signage was done by Storm Graphics in Bicester, at a reduced price.”

“Gold Nuggett will get a new home, too. We are donating it to the Hummingbird Cancer Support Group,” told committee member Wendy Wright.

Afternoon tea for volunteers

The League of Friends of Bicester Community Hospital support the hospital by fundraising to supply equipment that is not provided by the NHS. They raise money with regular coffee mornings and a summer fete, and also receive donations from local businesses and grateful patients. They also give their time helping on the wards by bed making, serving teas and interacting with the patients.

“Littlebury Hotel is one of our main supporters, providing rooms for us for the coffee morning and the AGM, and supplying refreshments,” says Valerie.

“Our committee members are very dedicated to Bicester Community Hospital, but sadly we are all getting older. We are in need of some younger, fresher people to continue to support our hospital!”

If you would be interested in getting involved with the League of Friends, contact Wendy Wright 01869 252246.

Saturday June 1 is also the start of the National Volunteer Week. Bicester Community Hospital is thanking their team of volunteers with an afternoon tea in the hospital gardens from 1.30pm onwards. This time, staff will be serving volunteers.