Give to GOSH appeal donations break £3m to reach all-time high

Reaching £3m means that all the £1.5m in match-funding provided by George Osborne has been used

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The Independent Online

Our campaign to raise money to help Great Ormond Street Hospital treat critically ill children and support their parents has now raised more than £3m, smashing all previous records for our seasonal appeal.

The appeal, now in its final two weeks, ends on GOSH’s birthday, 14 February, and a party will be held that week for patients and staff.

Reaching £3m means that all the £1.5m in match-funding provided by the Chancellor, George Osborne, has been used. A new funder, the Hunter Foundation, has now provided a further £100,000 in match-funding to help boost donations during the appeal’s final stretch.

Dr Peter Steer, chief executive of GOSH, said everyone at the hospital had been deeply touched by the public’s generosity. “It has been a fantastic response,” he said. “The money is invaluable. It is also hard to  overstate what it has meant to the staff. Thank you.”

Evgeny Lebedev, the owner of the London Evening Standard and Independent newspapers, said he wished to thank everyone who had backed the appeal. “I have seen for myself the incredible work being done by the tireless and inspirational doctors and nurses at Great Ormond Street Hospital, and talked with parents who are going through an almost unimaginably difficult and emotional time,” he said. 

Elliott Livingstone, a patient at GOSH, and his parents, Adrian and Candace, celebrate with Evgeny Lebedev, owner of ‘The Independent’ (John Shand-Kydd)

“Every penny will go on essential projects to help them. More children will now be treated and their time in the hospital made much more comfortable. That is something we can all be proud of.”

As well as postal and online donations, the funding includes money raised through the Give it up for GOSH initiative, which ends on Sunday. The hundreds of people who took part were sponsored to give up a treat for January through our partner, the fund-raising website JustGiving.

Corporate backing came from organisations including Morgan Stanley and Trailfinders, while Tesco ran a four-day fundraising drive at all 500 of its London stores last week. The supermarket’s initial estimate is that Londoners gave more than £100,000.

Professor Martin Elliott, a cardiothoracic surgeon at GOSH, said he was “gobsmacked” by the success of the appeal, which The Independent is running with its sister papers i, The Independent on Sunday and the Evening Standard. 

He added: “I travel on the Tube every day and see people reading the reports in the paper. I cannot tell you what it means to me being able to witness how people want to be part of what we are trying to do for the children here.”

The Hunter Foundation, which is providing the extra match-funding, was set up by Scotland’s first self-made billionaire, Sir Tom Hunter. For every pound donated, up to £100,000, the foundation will give a further pound.

Give to GOSH - Great Ormond Street Hospital fundraiser

“Great Ormond Street Hospital is an outstanding facility offering hope and help to thousands of young people and their families, and that’s why we are delighted to offer these new funds,” Sir Tom said. “Let’s hope everyone digs deep and doubles our support to help a tremendous cause.”

The appeal is helping fund research programmes and the creation of a specialist unit for children waiting for a heart transplant. It will also support care programmes for patients and their families and will aid the hospital’s Louis Dundas Centre for Children’s Palliative Care, which supports children with life-threatening illnesses and conducts vital research.

Adrian Livingstone, whose two-year-old son Elliott is being treated at GOSH while he waits for a heart transplant, said: “We are delighted how well the campaign has gone and really pleased to be part of it. We have had such support from all the staff at the hospital and it is a pleasure to be able to help GOSH. It is amazing to see how people have responded to the appeal.”