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Malmesbury League of Friends (MLOF) has donated a total of £98,000 in 2021 to a variety of local organisations and needy individuals.

This sum includes:

  • Great Western Hospital, Swindon – CT Scanner for its Radiotherapy Unit – £25,000
  • Wiltshire Air Ambulance – £25,000
  • Julia’s House, Devizes – £10,000
  • Malmesbury Primary Care Centre – various items of medical equipment – £15,000
  • Athelstan House – £6,300
  • Four defibrillators – Garsdon, Eastcourt, Braydon, Malmesbury Youth Football Club @ £1,500 – £6,000
  • Seagry School Playground – £5,000

MLOF has now contributed £1,500 for each of 18 defibrillators in and around Malmesbury.

Most of the current trustees shown above

MLOF chairman David Hide said: “We are particularly pleased to have been able to help so many local organisations and needy individuals in this most difficult of years.

“These latest donations are typical of the requests we receive for support. Although some of them involve quite modest sums, each one will nevertheless make a major difference to the lives of those who will benefit.

More defibrillators supplied by MLOF

Malmesbury League of Friends (MLOF) has paid for two more defibrillators, at Malmesbury Youth Football Club (MYFC) and in Eastcourt village, to add to the 13 it has already installed in local communities.

From L-R: Victoria Meheust, MYFC Treasurer, MLOF Chairman David Hide and MYFC President Ray Sanderson with the new defibrillator outside the MYFC clubhouse

At MYFC, whose training ground and club house are situated next to the Red Bull pub, the new defibrillator replaces one that had been there for many years, but was in need of replacement.

Ten teams, with over 100 youngsters from under six to 16 years, train and play matches there every week. They come from Malmesbury and surrounding villages.

MYFC President Ray Sanderson said: “ Although it’s unlikely that any of these young players will need a defibrillator, one can never be sure, as the recent incident during Euro 20  match in Copenhagen showed. We’re very grateful to MLOF.”

The defibrillator now situated in the old public telephone box in the centre of Eastcourt, between Crudwell and Oaksey, will bring reassurance to this small community.

MLOF Chairman David Hide commented: “ We’re delighted to have paid for two more defibrillators and always remain willing to consider similar requests from other local communities or organisations.”


A new Health Care Monitor, which can measure a number of patient functions, and is situated in the ground floor reception area of Malmesbury Primary Care Centre (MPCC), has been donated by the Malmesbury League of Friends (MLOF).

The health care monitor, which can be used by any patient without a booked appointment, provides an instant measure of a patient’s height, weight, body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure. The results are recorded into the patient’s records immediately, allowing the GP to review them during any subsequent consultation.

The results are especially important for those patients who need frequent health checks, have long-term health conditions and for routine checks to support diagnostic activity.

MPCC Practice Manager Charlotte Gorman said: “ Public Health England advise that having a BMI over 35 increases the risks of complications from COVID, so weight management is a new priority and the health monitor is helping us support patients whose BMI is high. The results are also valuable for anyone attending our recently launched Wellbeing Group.”

MLOF Chairman David Hide said: “ We were delighted to purchase this important piece of equipment, which can have real benefits for MPCC patients.”

MPCC Receptionist Lauren Jackson uses the new Health Care Monitor

MLOF makes further donations worth over £21,000

The Malmesbury League of Friends (MLOF) has made further recent donations, totalling over £21,000, following requests from a number of local organisations.

For Malmesbury Primary Care Centre, MLOF has purchased a Health Care Monitor, which can perform contactless monitoring for a range of functions, saving over 20 appointments a week, and two cardiac monitoring machines, saving patients countless visits to hospital.

As part of its programme to buy defibrillators where they are needed locally, MLOF has purchased three more machines, at Malmesbury Youth Football Club and in two local villages, Eastcourt and Braydon. The purchase of further defibrillators for other local sports clubs is under active consideration.

Finally, it has purchased a set of garden furniture for local care home Athelstan House, for the enjoyment of its residents.

MLOF chairman David Hide said: “These latest requests are typical of those we receive. Although some of them involve quite modest sums, each one will nevertheless make a major difference to the lives of those who will benefit.

“We are always happy to consider requests for help for those living in the Malmesbury area, who have a special need.”

Some of the garden furniture purchased by MLOF for the residents of Athelstan House is shown below.


Malmesbury League of Friends (MLOF) has presented £25,000  towards the CT Scanner to be installed inside the Radiotherapy Centre currently undergoing construction at the Great Western Hospital, Swindon.

Following their three donations of £25,000 towards the Radiotherapy Centre itself, MLOF chairman David Hide and trustee Sonia La Fontaine were recently given a conducted tour of the centre, which is expected to be operational by early 2022.

MLOF Chairman David Hide said: “ We were delighted to support the installation of a CT scanner, which will mean that radiotherapy patients will no longer need to travel to Oxford for their initial assessment.

“ It was wonderful to see the Radiotherapy Centre under construction, knowing that it will shortly be undertaking vital treatment for patients in the Swindon area.

Jane Leighton, Brighter Futures Major Gifts Manager, said: “ We are so grateful for the further £25,000 donation from MLOF, making a total of £100,000, towards this project.”


An on-line fund raising campaign, GoFundMe, for a Crudwell, near Malmesbury, teenager to pay for life-changing surgery in America has been boosted by a £5,000 donation from the Malmesbury League of Friends.

14-year old Avie David suffers from a rare spinal complaint called Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) which, unless treated, could cause permanent disability.

The operation to rectify this, called Vertebral Body Tethering, is available in the UK, but not on the NHS. But it is available at the Shriner’s Charity Hospital in Philadelphia, where experience of this surgery is much greater and where Avie has recently been successfully tested.

As a teenager, the effect of AIS as Avie grows will cause her rib cage to push against her heart and lungs, bringing problems of breathing, mobility and pain.

Avie’s mother Sarah said: “ We are so incredibly grateful to all those who, so far, have contributed, with the MLOF donation, over £31,000. This has gone a long way to covering all the costs.”

MLOF chairman David Hide said: “ MLOF exists to provide medical treatment and equipment not available on the NHS to organisations and individuals who badly need help. We sincerely hope that our donation, along with all the others, will result in a successful outcome for Avie.”

Avie is currently waiting to hear from the Shriner Hospital when she can travel to the USA for her operation, but it is hoped that this will be by July or August at the latest.

MLOF donates to Boxing Club

The Malmesbury League of Friends (MLOF) has recognised the importance of the recent Mental Health Awareness Week with a £3,000 donation to Malmesbury Boxing Club.

Volunteer head coach Mike Rees, a former police inspector and amateur featherweight and light-welterweight national champion, is particularly keen to encourage more young teenagers and adults to join the club.

The club operates two evening training sessions each week, helping the young boxers to develop their fitness and self-confidence in a friendly and disciplined environment. The club currently has around 40 regular members, who are instructed and trained by Mike and four other volunteer coaches.

Boxing, according to former world heavyweight champion Frank Bruno, can have a significant beneficial effect on both one’s physical and mental health, particularly for the young.

Mike Rees commented:” Boxing undoubtedly has positive effects on both physical and mental health. Many parents of the young boxers here have told me they have noticed how their children’s fitness and self- confidence has improved from attending regular sessions here. This donation will really help.” 

David Hide, MLOF chairman said: “ We are always keen to encourage those, particularly young people, to participate in healthy, character-building activities. The Boxing Club, under Mike’s leadership, is doing a first class job and fully deserves our support.”

Mike Rees (left) thanks MLOF chairman David Hide for the £3,000 to Malmesbury Boxing Club, with some of its members at the club.

Top 5 tips on how to help a loved one with medical needs

photo of person wearing protective wear while holding globe
Photo by Anna Shvets on

We are living in challenging times.  

The world can feel like a frightening place, what with pandemics, political upheaval and poverty.  And if you or someone you love has specific medical needs which are not being met, this can add an extra level of stress.

Here in the community of Malmesbury and the surrounding villages, there is support.  Malmesbury League of Friends (MLOF), who provide medical equipment and support to the local community are here to help and recommend these top tips to help you and your loved ones:

  1. Help them with research.  Dealing with difficult medical or financial hardship because of them can really affect how able someone is to explore their options.  Help your loved ones by contacting relevant national bodies like Social Services, the Citizens Advice Bureau and charities for specific health issues.  MLOF Trustee Hayley Webb says, “Being Type 1 Diabetic, I often turn to the charity Diabetes UK for help and advice, they are a great support”.   Also approach local support like GP practices and community charities (like Malmesbury Community TrustWiltshire Community FoundationMalmesbury Area BoardHEALS and The Jack Lane Trust) to find out how they could help.  Here are some more local suggestions from our website.
  1. Ask for recommendations.  Nothing beats personal experience, so talk to your friends and network to hear other people’s advice on how to deal with similar issues.  Click here to read about some of MLOF’s success stories and see how we have been able to help local people.  Could we help your loved one?
positive young multiracial guys demonstrating thumbs up sign at camera
Photo by William Fortunato on
  1. Help them to reach out to social media and local support.  Feeling isolated is a common problem for those living with specific medical needs., particularly if they are elderly and live alone.  The world of social media is buzzing with support groups of people helping each other, nationally, internationally but more importantly, locally.  Help your loved one to access the virtual world by searching on sites like Facebook and Twitter, but also to meet local community groups.  
smiling black woman with burger using laptop on park bench
Photo by Uriel Mont on

MLOF is working with and supporting the Hello Project which, once the Coronavirus pandemic is behind us, will endeavour to co-ordinate all the relevant voluntary groups in the town, through a new website and brochure, which will be in the doctors’ surgeries, library and town hall. This will enable those who need help to identify relevant support groups.

Click here to visit our Facebook group where we list some really helpful support resources.   Do you run a group like this?  Could MLOF help you financially to do this?  Get in touch here.

  1. Volunteer with local charities and groups.  Help them to help your loved one.  Do you have spare time and skills to contribute to your community?  As well as gaining a sense of personal satisfaction in knowing you are helping local people, valuable skills can be gained through volunteering, not to mention making friends and expanding your network.  
  1. Help spread awareness of the help available.  MLOF was the grateful beneficiary of a substantial legacy a few years ago, which has enabled it to carry on its important work.  We are always very grateful to be remembered when people are drawing up their wills.  If you or someone you know could benefit from our help, please share our details on social media and by word of mouth.

Communities pulling together is what the world needs, especially at the moment.  There are so many ways you can support your loved ones with specific medical needs and reaching out for help is the key.  

Malmesbury League of Friends are here supporting local people in need so please help us raise awareness of this valuable resource.  Visit our website and follow our Facebook page to find out how we could help you and how you could help your community.

MLOF donates equipment to Tolsey Surgery

MLOF chairman David Hide ( right) with, from L-R, Dr Simon Watkins, Dr Philippa Pettit, Health Care Assistant Sally Bishop and Practice Nurse Jo Missiato.

Malmesbury League of Friends (MLOF) has recently paid for two new items of medical equipment for use at the Tolsey Surgery in Sherston.

It has paid approximately £1,000 for an INR machine to monitor the warfarin levels in patients receiving this medication to reduce blood clotting. And it has donated £1,500 towards a new defibrillator, the 13th it has paid for in local villages.

Automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) have been described as the single most important development in the treatment of sudden cardiac arrest. Designed for use by untrained lay persons, they have improved the outcomes of literally thousands of people who have suffered from cardiac arrests.

MLOF has previously purchased items of medical equipment not available on the NHS for the Tolsey Surgery, as well as supporting the Malmesbury Primary Care Centre and deserving local charities and needy individuals.

Andrew Kolenda, the Tolsey practice manager, said: “ Once again, we are most grateful for the support from MLOF, whose help is much appreciated by everyone here and by our patients in Sherston.”

MLOF chairman David Hide said: “ We are delighted to have helped towards the installation of a new defibrillator and the ING machine in Sherston. Supporting our two local practices has always been our No1 priority.”

Malmesbury League of Friends assists COVID vaccination programme

MLOF has made two donations to enable the roll-out of the Covid vaccination programme at the Malmesbury Primary Care Centre (MPCC) to be speeded up.

It has donated £3,000 to install vinyl flooring and a sink in an available ground floor room at MPCC to enable patients with Covid symptoms to be seen in the surgery when there are also vaccinations in progress.

It has also donated £1,000 to purchase ten double screen monitors to enable vaccinators to have access to two screens simultaneously, checking the vaccine details on one system and the patients’ medical notes on the other to ensure the correct vaccine is compatible with each patient.

Lisa Hepworth. Care Co-ordinator at MPCC, said: “The vaccination programme is going well. We are most grateful for the two generous donations by MLOF which will certainly help to keep it ahead of schedule.”

David Hide, MLOF Chairman, said: “We were delighted to help. We all have an interest to ensure that as many Malmesbury residents receive their vaccinations as quickly as possible.”