THE Friends of Winchester Hospital are to make a £175,000 donation towards the building of the new hospice, Burrell House at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital.

Patrick Piper, Friends treasurer, said a further donation of about £50,000 will be made to the Royal Hampshire County Hospital for equipment, with several applications from the medical staff, wards and departments under consideration.

These donations will have a huge impact on the Friends’ finances as it has been necessary to realise all its investments to raise the funds.

The work of the charity is now set to be scaled down, the charity has revealed.

The Friends trustees have recently been undertaking a review of its activities.

A major consideration is the movement of patients between the NHS trust’s three sites in Winchester, Andover and Basingstoke. Additionally, with the passage of time there are bound to be ongoing changes including the location of specialist units.

A further reason for the review is the Friends’ limited ability in fund raising, largely because of the advancing age of the trustees and lack of fresh blood.

Richard Chisnell, Friends chairman, said the decision has been taken to reduce operations with proposals for the future to be put to the members in due course.

During the intervening period, donations will continue to be received by the Friends with fund raising in Winchester being undertaken by the North Hampshire Medical Fund.

This Basingstoke based-charity employs full-time fund raising staff and already contributes towards the purchase of equipment for the RHCH.

Donna Green, deputy chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust, said: “We are very grateful to the Friends of the Royal Hampshire County Hospital for this very generous donation and their support for Winchester Hospice, which will be an important development for Winchester and the surrounding area.

“It would be great to get the whole community to help us raise the £2.5million we need to turn Burrell House into the hospice and this donation is a fantastic step in the right direction. Thank you!”