By Liz Crudgington
Plans for a Clinical Trials Unit at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate are full steam ahead, thanks to a donation from Hornby Hobbies.
The Margate-based firm handed over £140,000 to East Kent Hospitals Charity following sales of their limited-edition Captain Tom Moore locomotive last year.
The money has been used to help create the specialised unit at the QEQM, helping to bring more innovative trials to patients. It is due to open in the spring.
Jessica Evans, director of research and innovation for East Kent Hospitals, and chief executive Susan Acott met Hornby Hobbies chief executive Lyndon Davies to say a personal thank you for the donation.
Ms Evans said: “We are so grateful to Hornby for their fantastic donation, which is helping to make our vision of this Clinical Trials Unit become reality.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has really shone a spotlight on the importance of research in developing new treatments and we have recruited thousands of people to Covid-related research studies.
“When the new unit is fully operational we will be able to deliver even more research, helping to improve outcomes for patients in our hospitals and elsewhere.”
Hornby also donated one of the special Captain Tom Moore locomotives to the hospital to commemorate the link between them. Only 500 models were planned but, due to massive demand, 3,500 were actually produced. The 00-guage engine is a replica of GB Railfreight’s engine dedicated to 100-year-old Captain Sir Tom, who raised more than £32million for the NHS by walking around his garden during the first wave of the pandemic.
The Clinical Trials Unit will benefit patients across Kent, meaning people will no longer need to travel to London to take part in trials of the latest drugs or medical devices.
The £1.6million project involves converting the old Reculver Ward at the QEQM into a clinical space for research studies, and investing in the research infrastructure across East Kent Hospitals.
The unit will host both major commercial studies such as trials of new drugs, as well as home-grown research led by EKHUFT clinicians.
This includes the ongoing Berry trial, investigating whether black elderberry liquid is an effective treatment for Covid-19.
You can find out more about how to support East Kent Hospitals Charity, here: https://www.ekhcharity.org.uk/make-a-difference/helpingyourhospitals/