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Cambridge woman leaves money for £400,000 ward refurbishment at Addenbrooke’s in her will

Patients using a renal ward at Addenbrooke’s are to benefit from a more colourful and relaxed approach to hospital life thanks to a legacy from a Cambridge woman.

Ward C5 has undergone a £400,000 nature-inspired transformation paid for using money gifted to the Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) by Marcia Cunningham – whose best friend had worked on the ward.

Ann Cooper is a sister working in medical outpatients at Addenbrooke’s and was Marcia’s best friend.

She said: “I worked on the renal ward many years ago and she was always interested in what we did. I had no idea that she was leaving the money to the renal service! She lived a very simple quiet life and was the most kind, warm and thoughtful person who enjoyed people.”

Each of the ward’s 24 beds now has a decorative unit at the head, behind which essential services like medical gasses, nurse call, electrical sockets and lighting can be housed. Keeping them out of sight helps maintain a more relaxed atmosphere on the ward to help assist patients in their recovery.

Each unit also has the option of offering dialysis for the kidney patients – reducing the need to move them to another area for treatment.

Addenbrooke’s is believed to the first hospital in the UK to benefit from the head  units – which feature a range of floral and leaf-inspired designs. Each unit automatically illuminates if a patient leaves their bed during times of low light and will light up to guide staff to the appropriate bedside in the event of a patient call or cardiac alarm.

The bedheads have been provided as part of the £400,000 refurbishment project, which includes comfortable furniture, artwork, new nurses’ station and a waiting room.

Laura Wilton-Cox, senior sister on C5, said: “It looks amazing and will make a real difference to all the patients who will use the ward. We are very grateful to Marcia for the donation. I hope what we have done with her legacy to improve the wellbeing of patients on the ward would have made her proud and a nice touch is it also features her favourite flowers and trees.”

Shelly Thake, ACT’s CEO, said: “This is a wonderful example of how working in partnership with the hospital can make great things happen. We are hugely indebted to Marcia for her generosity, which has made such a difference for patients on ward C5, enabling them to be treated in altogether more inspiring and comfortable surroundings. Her kind legacy will be felt by many for years to come.”