Former footballer attends charity lunch


Former England and Arsenal footballer Paul Merson was the special guest at our charity sporting lunch in Gatwick at the beginning of the month (Friday 4 November).

The former footballer (pictured above with Rockinghorse CEO, Ryan Heal) attended the Best of British event at the Hilton London Gatwick hotel, which was raising money for the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) based in Haywards Heath.

Supported by headline sponsors Mayo Wynne Baxter Solicitors, the afternoon fundraiser welcomed over 200 guests from businesses across Mid-Sussex, who were treated to a three-course lunch followed by an entertaining talk from Paul Merson himself.

Guests took part in a number of fundraising games, including ‘heads and tails’, a raffle and an exclusive charity auction of rare sporting memorabilia, raising almost £20,000 for Rockinghorse, which will be donated towards our SCBU 50th year project.

The afternoon also played host to a talk from Sadie Berry-Robinson, Junior Sister at the Accident and Emergency Department in the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath. She spoke to guests about how funds raised at the Best of British Gatwick event last year were donated towards the recent renovation of the children’s waiting room and clinical room at the hospital.

She said: “Thanks to Rockinghorse, we have been able to decorate our rooms and reconfigure the space to allow for better management of children, as well as improve the environment for our patients and their families. Our new layout and equipment will allow us to ensure safety in the delivery of emergency care – we are very grateful that we now have the ability to offer improved assistance to children who are admitted to the Princess Royal Hospital.”

Funds raised from this year’s Best of British event will be donated towards our 50th year appeal; ‘Sussex Giving for Sussex Children’. Through the appeal, we have pledged to raise £500,000 in 2017, which will be split between 10 children’s centres and paediatric services across Sussex. One of these projects is the reconfiguration of SCBU. The new unit will be state-of-the-art in terms of both medical equipment, functionality and care, and will put it on a par with its sister unit, the Trevor Mann Baby Unit in Brighton.

Rockinghorse Chief Executive and organiser of the Best of British event, said: “Our 50th year is all about creating a legacy for the next generation, and to continue to ensure the best care is available for premature babies born here in Sussex. We can think of no greater legacy than the agreement we have made with the BSUH Trust, that the new look unit in Haywards Heath will be renamed ‘The Rockinghorse Baby Unit’ in recognition of the charity’s contribution.”

To find out more about our 50th year projects, and how you can get involved, please click here.


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