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From Bury to India -  Hospital and Charity Join Forces to Help Doctors and Nurses Coping With Tsunami Aftermath

Date:        Monday, April 25, 2005
Time:        9.30am
Venue:     Suffolk Support Services Transport Department, off Hospital Road, Ickworth Drive, Bury St Edmunds (old laundry site)
Photo:    The equipment being loaded onto a lorry to go out to India with the people who have made it possible

Medical equipment that can no longer be used by West Suffolk Hospital will be flown out to help a hospital in India that was destroyed by the South East Asian tsunami in December.

West Suffolk Hospital is helping the Bury St Edmunds branch of the Christian charity Tools With A Mission (TWAM) to send equipment that is no longer needed in the UK to the Catherine Booth Salvation Army Hospital in Thamilnadu state in South East Asia.

A 20ft container will leave for India on Monday, April 25, to take equipment including beds, stretchers, wheelchairs, hearing aids, to grateful doctors and nurses in the stricken state.

The hospital¹s Director of Facilities Steve Moore said: "When staff here heard about the tsunami disaster our hearts went out to the people who lost their lives and those who lost loved ones in this great tragedy.

"We have worked with Tools With A Mission before and when they asked us to help a hospital in India immediately affected by the disaster we were very happy to work in partnership with the charity again.

"Technology advances very quickly in the medical field and the equipment we are sending to India has been replaced with more modern items. The equipment is safe but is no longer of use in this country because it is not compliant with UK legislation but is compliant in other countries.

"TWAM ensures that the equipment is working, if not it is repaired, and sends it out to those who have a great need for it."

The hospital has stored the equipment for TWAM with help from the portering team who have been collecting it.

Jim Pretty, the hospital’s Senior Supervisor for Portering Services, said: "The hospital porters have been collecting the equipment and storing it for TWAM.

"There are a lot of kind hearted people at this hospital and everyone has been keeping their eye out for any equipment that we can no longer use but that the charity will be able to make use of in another country."

TWAM was set up 30 years ago to send new and refurbished tools all over the world to the most needy communities. Some tools are made up into kits before sending abroad, for use by carpenters, electricians or builders. The charity has also set up overseas workshops and offices to train locals in various trades and skills.

The medical equipment side of the charity was set up a year and a half ago and it is hoped other hospitals in East Anglia will follow West Suffolk Hospital in donating redundant medical equipment.

TWAM’s organiser on the ground is Mike Coleman, whose fellow  members of West Road Church, Bury St Edmunds, have spent hours packing the equipment.

He said: "We are sending the medical equipment to a hospital which was virtually flattened by the tsunami and desperately needs help. We are working with the Salvation Army who are out there working on the ground.

"I’d like to thank the hospital for everything they have done. They have enabled us to fill a 20ft container full of vital medical equipment that they can longer use but will help people in desperate need in India."

Tools With A Mission has set up an appeal. Anyone who would like to make a donation can make a cheque payable to Tools With a Mission and send it to Tools With A Mission, Unit 3, Perry Barn, Burstall Lane, Sproughton, Ipswich, IP8 3DJ. Charity number 1104903.



West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust