WE are a few weeks from Christmas – always an expensive time of year, but our purchases will pale in comparison to one big buy.
A group safeguarding the future of Mold Community Hospital hopes to have collected enough money to buy an X-ray machine by the new year.
Leader readers will already know that, following the launch of the controversial healthcare review in 2012, Mold Community Hospital was picked out as one of the possible sites to be downgraded.
Like others within the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board area, Mold’s minor injuries and the X-ray facilities were selected for removal.
In response, Mold Community Hospital’s League of Friends pledged £100,000 towards a new X-ray machine, while a massive public effort has raised a further £80,000.
The X-ray fund is now a little under £20,000 away from hitting the £200,000 total, and more donations are coming in every day.
Now members of the X-ray Appeal committee and the league of friends are banking on one last big push.
If the new machine is secured, it will represent a triumph for the fundraisers. But more than that, it will play a major part in retaining health services in the town.
I have had more than one occasion to be grateful for the hospital.
When I was six, my thumb was accidentally squashed in the hinge of a door by a friend, levering my fingernail off and squashing the digit out of shape.
I was transported to the minor injuries unit, my hand clasped in an increasingly bloodstained tea towel, where the staff cleaned and bound my mangled thumb.
Earlier this year, an elderly relative was cared for at Mold after being transferred from the Maelor Hospital in Wrexham.
She’d had an experience which left her frail and frightened, but she recuperated in one of the 40 beds, gaining strength and regaining her appetite before returning home.
It was a reminder of just how valuable the facilities are, whether to a terrified child or an elderly patient.
Thanks to dedicated fundraisers, the threat hanging over the hospital has been deferred and is on the road to being recognised as a health hub.
Ray Chesters, treasurer for the league of friends, has been watching the money roll in.
He said: “It has been absolutely phenomenal. It has been the best reaction since we originally collected funds to build the hospital in the first place.
“I joined in 1979, but by then the friends had already been collecting for four years.
The hospital was opened in 1984, costing £1.7 million, and everybody and his dog got involved raising funds.
“We had people doing all sorts. One man did a sponsored crawl up Moel Famau on his hands and knees – that’s no joke.
“Now for this appeal we’ve seen the same sort of commitment again.”
The health board’s decision to reverse the downgrading of Mold Hospital was conditional on funds being raised for the X-ray machine.
Mr Chesters said: “The community just explode d into activity. Now here we are, a lot better off.
“If you look at the figures, Mold Community Hospital serves around 53,000 people.
“It was one of two pilot projects in the country to prove the viability of community hospitals. We did that then and we’ve done it now.”
Among the events was a charity show by comedian Ken Dodd, a lunch with actress Maureen Lipman, a masked ball at Soughton Hall, a secret concert and a series of sponsored runs, collections, coffee mornings and a calendar organised by individuals and groups.
Iris Roberts, of Mynydd Isa and social secretary for the friends group, had a hand in many of the events that brought in the funds.
She said: “We had the mayor’s ball, which raised more than £10,000 alone. The Ken Dodd show was a complete sell-out while the secret concert, which we couldn’t advertise because of where it was hosted, did amazingly well through sheer word of mouth.
“The community has been wonderful. Money has come in from everywhere. It has all been due to the community. They’ve fought for the hospital and now it is being upgraded to a hub.
“That should secure it into the future, hopefully.
“In a way, it’s a shame the fundraising will come to an end. We have all become friends through this. We hope to carry on and do something else in the future.”
Marie Bowler, locality matron at Mold Hospital, had also been heavily involved in fundraising.
“I’ve been to everything,” she said. “I’ve had an excellent social life.
“I think the reason people feel so strongly is it’s very much a family atmosphere.
“It’s the heart and hub of the community and I have been quite overwhelmed by the level of support from the public and businesses. It has been really quite heartwarming.
“I think it has brought something out of people. We’ve all been working for the same goal.
“That’s been a real highlight.”
Of course, it’s not over yet.
Although a staggering sum of money has been raised in less than a year, there is still some way to go.
Mold Town Band is performing at St Mary’s Church on December 16, while a Christmas concert will be held at Soughton Hall two days later to again support the campaign.
All of the friends and fundraisers agreed – it would be a good start to 2014 to reach that £200,000 goal.
To book tickets for the X-ray Appeal concert at Soughton Hall, call Vaughan Davies on 01352 752635 or 01352 754207. Tickets are £20.