Hornby donation to help create Clinical Trials Unit at QEQM Hospital in Margate

Jessica Evans, director of research and innovation for East Kent Hospitals with the donation

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/


  1. what a magnificent donation and i am sure it will make a huge difference , its a pity some of the greedy local developers dont put anything back in the community and local area, that they are happy to make millions from ?

  2. Thank you Hornby for such a magnificent donation and the benefits it will provide. And wonderful that it is QEQM rather than another Kent hospital which will have this department.
    And Andrew – Riveroak do support local charities. Perhaps if they are able to reopen Manston and start making a profit they will be able to make more generous donations.

  3. Riveroak (RSP) have given money all over Thanet for tree planting, also money has been given to Ramsgate Football club to feed 100’s children on school holidays.
    Alas they still get slated by the snowflakes.

  4. Of course RSP will always “get slated” by people who -for many excellent reasons-don’t want an airport at Manston.

  5. I was answering a post by Andrew. Ramsgate is only one part of Thanet Marva, RSP have given the money, but not planted the trees!
    Get the airport running and I’m sure there will be more funding for Thanet projects.

    • Perhaps RSP will be able to make large donations to the NHS to help pay for the damage a busy airport will do to the health of the local residents. If anything, apart from birds, ever flies from the ex-airport site .

  6. RSP is supporting a project to plant more than 1,200 trees in Thanet as part of a £1 million project – The Isle of Thanet Trees and Woods Initiative (ITTWI)

    The ITTWI has successfully secured £525,000 from the Urban Tree Challenge Fund, overseen by the Forestry Commission, and is also supported by £100,000 funding from RSP as well as £430,000 labour ‘in kind,’ making a total project value of £1,055,000.

    The group is made up of St Anthony’s School teacher and Thanet Community Forest School founder Luke Evans, Colourful Margate lead Stephanie Nsom; Peter Hasted of the Sunken Garden Society; Steve Darling of Dane Valley Woods and Thanet councillor Ash Ashbee. The group is supported by isle volunteers, businesses and community organisations.

    RSP’s Niall Lawlor said of the project:

    “RSP is committed to investing in the long term future of Thanet – not just in the airport, but in its people, communities and environment too. We are delighted to be involved in the Isle of Thanet Trees and Woods Initiative to increase the amount of woodland across five key sites in Thanet, with all of the attendant health, social and environmental impacts this will bring. We see this as a tangible opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to reopening Manston in a balanced and responsible way and look forward to participating in the delivery of the initiative in the months and years ahead.”

    • Naill Lawlor has left RSPRSP promised £150,000 to the laudable Trees Initiative several years ago. So far they’ve only coughed up a tiny fraction.
      They can’t be short of brass: the government paid them £8,000,000 for doing nothing at all.

  7. RSP is very pleased to be one of the supporters of Monkton Nature Reserve. After contributing £10,000 to help the Trust repair a broken water pipe, it is wonderful to see the Reserve going from strength to strength.

  8. RSP Manston Airport has partnered with Ramsgate Football Club to create a unique half term activities camp for 120 youngsters, which begins tomorrow.

    The camp, which runs alongside the club’s other half term activities programmes, is open to all children but is provided free to youngsters who are eligible for the Government’s Free School Meals funding. It will offer a wide range of activities including football, crafts, and street dance, as well as airport-themed activities, flight simulators and opportunities to meet real life pilots.

    The £16,000 funding from RSP Manston Airport will also enable club chefs to provide nutritious, free hot lunches throughout the week as state funding for meals over school holidays, campaigned for by footballer Marcus Rashford, does not extend to cover this October half term.

    The camp is themed around healthy food and nutrition and activities and menus during the week will be based around the sports, cultures and cuisines of Brazil, Italy, Spain, and the UK.

    Dr Sally Dixon, who is co-ordinating the programme for RSP Manston Airport, said: “A hot meal and fun with your friends in the holidays should be on the menu for every child, but we know some families really need support to make this possible. Ramsgate FC has a brilliant reputation for their holiday camps and, when they told us there was no Government funding to feed these children over half term, we stepped in to help.

    “However, we wanted to go further than just provide funding, We wanted to bring along some fun activities and share the skills and experience of the Manston Airport family too. We are working with Polar Helicopters and TG Aviation and will bring along some flight simulators that will allow the youngsters to take to the virtual skies as a pilot. The activity will be overseen by a pilot trainer who will talk to the youngsters about the skills needed in a variety of logistics jobs.

    “I am also delighted to confirm that local food producers, including SW Highwood (Pluckley) Limited, Prep World and Thanet Earth are also supporting the programme, providing fresh produce that the club’s chefs will use in the menu. We are really grateful to everyone that has helped us make this possible – this is a real Thanet effort to ensure these youngsters have a fantastic half term.”

  9. a field full of trees -thats an interesting thought , but not quite as good as a few art gallerys , they will solve all the problems here in thanet in one go !

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