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RAF nurses fundraise for specialist hospital and museum

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A group of military nurses donned their combats for a day of fundraising last month in aid of a specialist hospital in Sussex and the nearby museum that celebrates one of its pioneering surgeons.

The 12 nurses based themselves at Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the specialist centre for reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation, on 18 July.

“We are proud of our military heritage and the RAF and army clinicians that work with us here”

Jo Thomas

The day was organised by RAF nurses work at the trust and have gained specialist training in the areas of burns and plastic surgery, essential skills when on active duty on the front line.

They were also joined by colleagues from Birmingham and Oxford who came down to East Grinstead especially for the fundraising event.

In the space of six hours, they washed 34 cars, sold hundreds of homemade cakes and encouraged staff across the hospital to buy raffle tickets to win an array of prizes.

Their efforts raised £700, which will be split equally between the QVH Charity and the East Grinstead Museum.

The museum houses the Rebuilding Bodies and Souls exhibition, which tells the story of Sir Archibald McIndoe, reconstructive surgery at the Queen Victoria Hospital and the famous Guinea Pig Club.

The club was established in 1941 as a support network for allied aircrew injured during World War II, usually having been badly burnt while trying to bail out of fighter aircraft during the Battle of Britain.

“As members of the RAF, it’s important that we support the local community”

Caroline Maynard-Burrows

Its membership was made up of patients of Sir Archibald, who carried pioneering experimental plastic surgery, including facial reconstruction, at the Queen Victoria Hospital.

The museum catalogues and preserves artefacts and memorabilia relating to Sir Archibald’s pioneering surgery at the hospital, and will use its donation to continue managing this collection.

Sgt Caroline Maynard-Burrows, an RAF nurse at the Queen Victoria Hospital, said: “As members of the RAF, it’s important that we support the local community and what better charities to support than the QVH Charity and the East Grinstead Museum.

“Being based at the Queen Victoria Hospital enables nurses like myself to update our training and develop highly relevant skills for RAF duty,” she said. “It’s a pleasure to be able to support the hospital’s charity.”

Jo Thomas, the trust’s director of nursing, said: “We are proud of our military heritage and the RAF and army clinicians that work with us here at the hospital.

“We’re delighted that our nurses, and their colleagues who travelled down specially from Birmingham and Oxford, chose to support the QVH Charity and East Grinstead Museum through their fundraising,” she said. “We’d like to thank them for their hard work and dedication.”

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