Two local amateur dramatic groups have donated cash from their performances to Dorset County Hospital.

The New Hardy Players recently staged a production of Far from the Madding Crowd as a fundraiser for the hospital.


Howard Payton (centre) and Alison Payton (second from right) present a cheque for £1,000 to staff of the Kingfisher Children’s Ward

Each year the Players raise money for local charities and this year the directors, Howard Payton and his wife Alison, had a very special reason for wanting to donate to a worthy cause.

In 2018, their granddaughter Mathilda fell very ill just after her third birthday, and after many tests at Great Ormond Street Hospital was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Langerhans cell histiocytosis, which was affecting the bone of her skull.

Mathilda spent a year undergoing chemotherapy and having frequent stays in London. She was extremely poorly during this time and the strain on her parents and family was severe. Thanks to the care and support she and the family received from the NHS Mathilda is now on the road to a good recovery.

After Mathilda completed her chemotherapy her mother Jenny raised money for the wards in which she had been treated.

This year, following six sell-out performances of Far from the Madding Crowd, Howard and Alison have chosen to donate £1,000 to the Kingfisher Ward at Dorset County Hospital.

Howard said, “We felt it was extremely important to support our local NHS who work so hard and with such dedication for our local community.”

Ward matron Anna Ekerold said, “We were surprised and delighted with the donation and have suggested the money is used to buy ‘put-you-up’ beds for parents who need to stay overnight with their children.”

Meanwhile members of the popular Dorset County Hospital Players group have made a significant donation to Dorset County Hospital Charity’s chemotherapy appeal following a successful show at the hospital.


The DCH Players with Simon Pearson of DCH Charity (2nd from right)

The DCH Players is a talented and creative group of staff and ex-staff from Dorset County Hospital. Each year they write and perform a show and raise money for DCH Charity projects. The 2019 show, Wardchurch, was a hilarious skit based on the popular Broadchurch TV series. Staff ranging from business managers, administrators, technicians and consultants threw themselves into their roles and performed over three nights to packed crowds earlier this year.

As a result £1,000 was raised for the chemotherapy appeal. The Players also supported a member of staff who is part of Team GB in the World Transplant Games.


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