The 67th Annual General Meeting of The Friends of St Cross was held in the Benn Hall on the 7th of September 2022 

This report is a summary of the Minutes of the Meeting which will be approved at the next AGM to be held on 6th September 2023.

Kathryn Lawrence (President of the Charity) introduced the Worshipful Mayor of Rugby, Cllr. Carolyn Watson-Merret, pictured top left, who thanked the Friends for inviting her to the AGM and the warm welcome she had received from everyone present. She shared her thoughts on how the Pandemic had impacted on everyone’s lives and had emphasised the importance of community spirit with volunteers playing an essential role. Everyone can make a difference either alone or with others. She felt it was important to continue to inspire the local youth to become involved in volunteering as it was an opportunity for them to learn and continue the work of older volunteers. It also enabled the integration of town and village communities. Her Mayoral theme for the year was Volunteering.

Doug Jones gave a Vote of Thanks to the Mayor for her kind words and support for the Charity. It was an honour to have her at the meeting and her theme of Volunteering was interesting and applicable to the work of the Friends. 

DougDoug then gave an overview of the previous year. He acknowledged the generosity and support of local businesses, clubs, associations and individuals that seemed to know no bounds in spite of the recent pandemic. Such support had enabled the Friends to continue to donate funds towards essential equipment at the hospital and within local community health services. Voluntary services at the Hospital continue to grow and he was delighted to report that various ones e.g. Tea Bar had restarted. The services provided by the Friends at St Cross are managed through a team of eight Service Co-ordinators leading the 150 plus volunteers who continue to deliver, week in week out with commitment, enthusiasm and good humour more hours service than ever before. To all the volunteers both new and long servicing he thanked each and everyone one for their service. A full copy of the Chair's report can be found in the Annual Report 2021.

Paul Malin (Treasurer) summarised the accounts for 2021. A summary of the year showed a total income in 2021 of £144,014 with a total of gifts made in 2021 of £313,549 of which £163,00 was spent equipping the Maple Unit. The Sapphire Appeal aimed to raise £65,000 but when it closed £81,000 had been achieved. A copy of the Treasurer’s Report can be found in the Annual Report. The detail of the 2021 Gift List is also available here. Paul acknowledged the work of fellow Trustee Stephen Walshaw (Purchasing Lead) who had enabled considerable savings to be made on items purchased on behalf of the charity. Paul also acknowledged the continuing support via legacies bequeathed during the previous year in such difficult times. A full copy of the Treasurer's report can be found in the Annual Report.

Election of Office Bearers. President Kathryn Lawrence asked the meeting to agree that the following be appointed as Trustees of the Charity No one objected so approved.

PRESIDENT: Mr. Willy Goldschmidt
VICE PRESIDENTS: Mayor of Rugby, Mr. Michael Rigby, Mr. Anthony Cousins, Mrs. Doris Froggatt, Mrs Chrysanda Gilbert
CHAIR: Mr. Douglas Jones
TRUSTEE BOARD: Mrs Elizabeth Burnett; Mrs. Tracey Lennard; Mr. Ramesh Srivastava; Mr. Stephen Walshaw and Mrs. June Witcomb

Our Guest Speaker was Mrs. Katherina McEvoy MD FRCS Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon. Clinical Service Lead for Breast Surgery UHCW, NHS Trust.

Katherina McEvoyMrs McEvoy thanked everyone for inviting her to the meeting and shared a presentation overview of the service she managed. She was amazed at how many people had taken the time to attend the meeting and it showed how important the charity was to the residents of Rugby and local villages. She said that Breast cancer was the most common form of cancer in the UK with 1 in 7 at risk within their lifetime. This included both women and men with over 150 new cases being diagnosed each day. However, with the development of treatments that can now be offered, deaths have reduced by 45% over the past 40 years with approximately 80% of patients predicted to survive more than ten years. The pandemic had proved that it is extremely difficult to diagnose over the telephone/zoom and it is easy to miss symptoms if a patient is not offered 1:1 clinic time. The new unit was not fully operational but the team was excited about moving into the new area and being able to offer high quality and safe services with access to specialist treatment options when required. She expressed her thanks to both the Friends and the UHCW Charity for supporting the new unit. Such support will enable the future development of Breast Surgery at St. Cross both via In and Out Patient services.

Tracey Lennard gave a Vote of Thanks on behalf of the Friends. She presented Mrs. Katherina McEvoy MD FRCS with a small gift for the clinic that included a biscuit barrel, biscuits and mugs (as pictured on the front of the Annual Report). The Friends offered on-going support to the unit.

Professor Andy Hardy, CEO, UHCW, NHS Trust, pictured 1st bottom left above, gave a Vote of Thanks to the Charity on behalf of the Trust. He acknowledged the important role that volunteers played in the service offered to patients and carers by the Trust and the positive feedback received via Patient Surveys. He shared with the meeting the strategic importance St. Cross played within the Trust. New theatres, new chemotherapy services and a new Endoscopy Suite that would hopefully be completed by summer 2023 being some of the exciting developments. The Trust Board was also in discussions with consultants on how St Cross could be developed in the next six/twelve months particularly around elective services. Such discussions could give confidence to patients that surgery would go ahead on a date agreed. 90% of orthopaedic work goes on at St. Cross and receives a positive feedback from patients.

Dame Stella Manzie DBE, Chair of the UHCW NHS Trust,pictured 4th bottom left above, offered a further vote of thanks on behalf of the Trust to the Friends for all the outstanding work over many years by so many volunteers and supporters. Volunteers played a fundamental part in every aspect of a patient’s journey. She shared her excitement at the news of new services being offered at St Cross and that the strategy had identified the need for such work to continue in the future.

Presentation of Awards

Life members

Elizabeth Burnett (Helpdesk/Tea Bar and Ward Trolley Co-ordinator) explained that as many of the Friends volunteers have retired later than those recruited in earlier years, and so may choose to volunteer for a shorter period than their predecessors, the Board had decided to reduce the length of time to qualify for Long Service Awards from 15 years to 10 years. Thank You Pins were awarded to volunteers present with absent volunteers receiving one in the near future.

Ms. Karen Tomlinson, the Friends Admin Co-Ordinator was recognised for her immense contribution to the Charity especially in co-ordinating recruitment of volunteers and being a key contact for volunteers throughout the year.

A floral display was presented to Kathryn Lawrence in recognition of the many years of support she had given to the charity in her role as both a Trustee and President.