Bedford Hospital Charity & Friends was founded over 30 years ago in 1988 by a group of local people, initially to raise money to refurbish the dilapidated and antiquated Student Nurse Home at Bedford Hospital South Wing. Since then it has raised £10 million for a number of projects. The largest was £2.35 million raised in the Primrose Appeal to build a new Oncology Unit.

The key to the Charity’s success has been its ability to work closely with the local community and the hospital itself. Most of the money has been raised through the generosity of local people, either supporting events organised by the committee, or organising events themselves in support of appeals. There have also been a few large individual donations. The Charity is run entirely by volunteers and has no paid staff. Its overheads are astonisingly low at around 0.5% so just about all the money received goes to help the hospital and patients.

Other charitable trusts, particularly local ones, have been very supportive. Hard work and commitment have created success and thanks are due to the army of regular helpers, who give so much time to the Charity.


…came together soon after World War 2. The new NHS was short of equipment, so the Friends raised funds to help. Today we have about 150 members with 25 active volunteers.  After operating independently for 70 years we have agreed unanimously to join forces with the Bedford Hospitals Charity to support our Hospital in these challenging times.

We collect regularly at Budgen’s friendly Supermarket in Bromham and we run a Stall in the Hospital on the first Monday of every month.  Our Patron, Her Grace, the Duchess of Bedford kindly provides a fund-raising visit to the Gardens at Woburn Abbey every summer. Dining evenings, Pub Quiz evenings and our traditional Christmas Concerts in St Peter’s Church have been popular and profitable events. Bedford Drama Company and Bedford Marianettes generously donate Charity tickets for their performances, recently earning us over £500.

In 2016 we raised £35,000 (including a £20,000 legacy) for an exceptionally accurate, up-to-date Scanner for expectant mothers and £1,356 for attractive Reminiscence Photos in Outpatients. In 2017 we bought two life-saving Ventilators @ £3,200 each for patients in Accident and Emergency, and raised £20,000 towards an attractive, safe new play outdoor area for Riverbank Children’s Ward. In 2018 we raised funds for three portable diagnostic units @ £3,000 each to detect liver problems in new-born babies. Our ongoing project is to raise £15,000 to give Riverbank a new indoor play area with equipment for all ages from birth to 18.  It will include a soft, hygienic play area for babies and children with special needs. Once this Riverbank project is completed, we will be supporting the current projects of the Bedford Hospital Charity & Friends.

From April 1st 2019 the charities were merged to form Bedford Hospital Charity & Friends