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About Us


Friends of Bristol Eye Hospital raise funds to improve the care and treatment of patients at the hospital.  We help to pay for medical equipment, facilities, patient comforts, staff resources and generally to support the charitable work of the hospital.  We can also help patients or former patients in distress or need.

Most of our grants provide medical equipment which is beyond the purse of the NHS; items may be the latest technology and therefore expensive, or we may provide extra items of standard equipment to supplement the NHS provision where having more means treating more patients more quickly.  Medical equipment we have provided includes:

  • Digital Angiography Imaging System (“DAISY”) to diagnose and treat retinal disease
  • Fluorescein Angiography Module for treating premature and very young babies
  • Visual field analysers for the treatment of glaucoma
  • Kelman phaco-emulsifier for cataract surgery
  • Pachymeter for use in corneal graft surgery
  • An optical coherence tomographer for retinal imaging
  • Slit-lamps and ophthalmoscopes
  • Clinical camera and microscope systems
  • Ultrasonic scanning equipment

We also provide smaller items for the comfort and care of patients.  Some examples of these over the years include: Christmas trees, TVs, toys, plants and gardens, cartoon murals for children’s areas, hire & insurance of paintings, purchase and maintenance of the fish tank in the children’s ward.

We occasionally make grants for patients in special need, eg a walkie-talkie for a blind patient with memory lapses, an instrument to enable a blind diabetic patient to monitor their own insulin levels and a lap-top computer for a child patient with almost no sight.


To continue this vital work, we depend heavily on individual donations and legacies.  Many of those who are most generous are people who have themselves benefited from the superb treatment given by the Bristol Eye Hospital.



In addition to generous personal donations and legacies, we supplement our income by fund-raising events.

Our first major public social and fund-raising event was a concert given by blind pianist Bernard d’Ascoli at the Theatre Royal in 1988.  He returned to play for us at St George’s, Brandon Hill in 1994.

Other social and fund-raising events have included:

  • two concerts by Hatstand Opera;
  • two Waverley trips;
  • Silver & Jewellery Exhibition (2006);
  • a trip on the Matthew and a talk by BBC filmmakers on ‘Planet Earth’ (2009);
  • dinners to celebrate our giving of £1m in grants, the 200th anniversary of the Hospital (2010) and our 40th anniversary (2017);
  • Moray Watson show (2012) and
  • various garden parties, jazz evenings and other smaller events.

We are also indebted to many individuals who have raised funds for us by various sponsored activities and other initiatives.


We sell Christmas Cards and other blank greetings cards featuring art in the Hospital.

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We publish an annual newsletter In Sight usually in April.  This is our main means for informing members, patients, staff and the general public about our activities and for thanking all our supporters.  It is posted or emailed to all members who request it or it can be found in the general reception area at the Eye Hospital.  Recent editions of In Sight, including the latest, may be viewed or downloaded from our In Sight page on this website.


We launched our first website in 2006.  In 2013 we established a Facebook page as an additional way to communicate with our supporters, in 2014 launched a new website and in 2016 a Twitter account.


We also use our social activities and fund-raising events to keep us in the public eye.

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The Friends' business is managed by Trustees - all of whom are members of the Friends and who must seek re-election every three years.  They are assisted by non-voting voluntary advisers, mainly from the staff of the Eye Hospital.  Trustees and their advisers as at 25 November 2019 are:


Richard Markham (Chairman)
Dinah Harrison (Hon Secretary)
Simon St Leger-Harris (Hon Treasurer)

Kevin Abbey

Wendy Beatty

Kay McCluskey

James Reddish
Peter Turner

Heather Walker
Hospital Advisers

Mark Stevens (General Manager)
Jenny Ward (Theatre Manager)

Cathy Williams (Consultant Ophthalmologist)

Publicity Officer

Kevin Abbey

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Friends' Trustees visited the staff room on Gloucester Ward refurbished by the Friends in March 2013.

The Friends are very fortunate to have had many dedicated Trustees, committee members, advisers or volunteers since our foundation in 1977.  We thank and acknowledge all of them.

Charity Commission


We are regulated by the Charity Commission.  Our Registered Charity Number is 274349.


Copies of our current and other recent Trustees' Report & Accounts may be downloaded from our In Sight page.