Ventilator Appeal

Towards the end of 1980 it was recognised that the Boys’ Brigade should be considering “Concern for others” and an appropriate project arranged. Correspondence was already underway with Hospitals regarding the possibility regarding support and gifts towards Paediatric work. This was assisted particularly by Professor Cockburn at Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow who by co-incidence were also celebrating one hundred years of the Hospital in 1983.

When Brigade decided that there was to be no national appeal the Scottish Committee decided “to go it alone”. Various projects had been considered which it been hoped would be of universal appeal and impact throughout the Brigade in the United Kingdom and Eire. For various reasons all projects were rejected on the grounds of ‘being too costly or would not have universal appeal eg the purchase of a Lifeboat which while highly commendable was far too costly and would only have an impact within the area of the particular Lifeboat Station’.

The Scottish Committee therefore took up the suggestion that a “Ventilator” be presented to the three Royal Hospitals for Sick Children in Scotland – in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow – which served the whole of the country where such a medical service was required.

Early in 1982 welcome support was received form the Bank of Scotland. They agreed to sponsor the entire production costs of the ‘collecting sleeves’ and deal with the lodgement of the donations into a special bank account. An explanatory leaflet was also produced and paid for and this offer would enable a considerable saving on distribution and administration costs.

This appeal was to be slightly different to other appeals in as much that the money was to come from individual Boys and Officers themselves. This meant that monies should not be collected from other people as would be the case with BB Week. With nearly 60,000 members of the Brigade in Scotland it was felt that the original target of obtaining 3 ventilators was achievable with an initial target of £15000.

The challenge was for each Boy involved in the appeal to save 10 x 10p of their own money giving a total of £1. The coins would be placed in special sleeves and deposited in the special account arranged by the Bank of Scot-land.

This appeal was not the only response in Centenary year in Scotland as “Concern for others” activities were being undertaken by individual Battalions. This included provision of Guide Dogs and Talking Newspapers for the Blind, an activity organised by Falkirk Battalion; the provision of wheelchairs for the handicapped, organised by the Paisley Battalion; the provision of a Neo-Natal Monitoring Machine, by the Aberdeen Battalion; a gigantic outdoor fair to raise funds for St Columba’s Hospice, Cheshire and Leith Hospital – organ-ised by Leith Battalion; and by Airdrie Battalion, the raising of funds for benefit of Spina Bifida sufferers and the local maternity hospital.

Information had been received that there was a likely increase in the costs of purchasing ventilators in December 1982. It was therefore agreed that to avoid this increase the ventilators should be purchased before the end of the year which subsequently took place. The funding was undertaken by the Health Boards due to receive the ventilators. This meant that the ventilators were actually paid for and delivered before the appeal was actually launched! It was now down to the Brigade to make the appeal a success and collect sufficient monies to pay the Health Boards.

Brigade Scotland were confident that the target set could be achieved and exceeded and it was expected that the appeal should begin in January 1983 and close in April 1983. There were initially some difficulties in leaflets and payment sleeves reaching companies and the uptake was slow. However, after the appeal period was extended (including a second approach to Leaders in Charge of Junior Sections) and other companies becoming involved there were eventually 391 Companies who took part. This meant that the initial target of £15,000 was exceeded and payment could be made to the Health Boards for their initial purchase of the equipment. The final total collected was in fact £23,074.19. This figure meant that additional ventilators could be purchased and this included hospitals in Dundee and Inverness, making a total of 5. The appeal seemed to have accepted monies until the end of 1983 as donations were still being received.

With the completion of the Appeal there was an opportunity to gain some excellent publicity and it was arranged that the first 4 ventilators would be simultaneously presented on the same day with attendance of BBC TV and most of the Scottish Newspapers. The funding and presentation for the fifth ventilator (Inverness) was agreed a later date at the beginning of the following year.

Arrangements were made with four Hospitals with presentations to take place on Friday 29th July 1983.

The Hospitals which received the first four ventilators were The Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Aberdeen, The Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh, The Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee. The fifth ventilator was presented to Raigmore Hospital, Inverness.

The ventilators were fitted with a plaque attached recording their presentation by The Boys’ Brigade in Centenary Year.

Inverness Battalion President Mr Tom Barr (left) hands over a ventilator machine for the special-care baby unit at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, to consultant pediatrician Dr Colin Galloway. Looking on are BB members (from left) David Sutherland, Paul Macallister, Nicole Adie, Blair McNeil and Christopher Brown.

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