Welcome to Friends of Bristol Eye Hospital

Treatment for all patients has been greatly enhanced by our supporters.

For every pound raised, we spend 93p on this support, 4p on running the charity and 3p on publicity or raising funds.

For ways to contact us, please click/tap CONTACT in the top menu.

Become a Friend

Our ‘Support us’ pages show how you can help, including becoming a member for just £5 a year.

Make a donation

You can donate in many ways, including cash, cheques, BACS, text, debit or credit card.

Read our newsletters

Please click the button below if you’d like to look at recent editions of our In Sight magazine.

grants made

Coronavirus (Covid‑19)

If you are currently planning to visit an NHS hospital in Bristol or Weston, please see: Guidance on visiting Hospitals in Bristol and Weston during Covid-19 emergency.

We express our profound appreciation to NHS staff, all health and care workers and others in the front line who are helping everyone in these difficult times.

During the coronavirus crisis, please contact us by phone or email.  Post addressed to us at the hospital may not be forwarded promptly (as staff have much more urgent and important priorities) and we cannot go into the hospital to collect it.  If you need to post anything to us, please call or email the Chairman or Treasurer (details in Contact) and we will give you a home address.  If you have posted anything to us and have not had a reply, please contact the Chairman, Secretary or Treasurer.  Many thanks.

We have twice purchased packs of tea, coffee, drinking chocolate and biscuits – one for each department in the hospital – plus packets of biscuits for the outreach clinic (which has no facilities to make hot drinks).  We plan to repeat this from time to time.

We delayed our AGM in the hope it could be hled in the hopsiatl as usual.  We eventually held it online on 24 November 2020.  Our next AGM is scheduled for Tuesday 20 July 2021 and will go ahead on that day at the hospital if permitted or online if not.

Preparation of a new edition of In Sight is underway but completion remains delayed as we endeavour to avoid distracting hospital staff from their more pressing duties.

Regrettably, if inevitably, we currently have no events scheduled while the Covid-19 emergency continues.  As soon as we are able, we will announce plans for any future events here and on our social media pages.  We will also send invitations to all our supporters who have requested such details.

30 March 2020, last updated 15 April 2021

Day Care Outpatient Surgery Treatment Chair

We have funded a new treatment couch for Emergency Department patients to replace the previous uncomfortable couch which was over 25 years old and not user friendly for patients or staff.

It can be used as a chair or couch with patients being easily, smoothly and comfortably moved into the best position for treatment depending on their particular needs.  It is adjusted electronically for height, backrests, sides, arm and leg rests and even has an emergency foot pedal for immediate CPR positioning.

This grant cost £3,560.

9 March 2021

New Tonometers enable BEH staff to run a glaucoma clinic at Weston General Hospital

Part of the integration of United Hospitals Bristol with Weston Area Trust, which was completed in September 2020, was to expand and develop the ophthalmic service at Weston, which is run by BEH staff.  We paid £10,800 to buy two iCare tonometers (and 4,000 disposable probes) which were urgently needed so that the new glaucoma clinic could get under way.

Tonometers are used to check intra-ocular pressures and have huge advantages for patients and staff over older instruments used for the same purpose.  These tonometers make the experience for patients quicker and more comfortable – they reduce the need to instil anaesthetic drops which invariably sting and often cause distress.  They are accurate and can be used on babies, children and any patient unable to sit at a slit-lamp, even a patient who is lying down.

Importantly, during the current health crisis, a patient can be examined at arm’s length giving increased protection from infection for operators and patients.

We gratefully acknowledge that the supplier, Mainline Instruments Ltd, kindly provided 500 disposable probes free of charge.

We also paid £4,000 for an identical additional tonometer for the Emergency Department in Bristol, who have to examine patients aged from one day old to 100 years.

9 March 2021

New Chairman and New Secretary

At the trustees’ meeting following our online AGM on Tuesday 24 November, Richard Markham confirmed that he would be retiring from the office of Chairman.  We are very grateful to Richard for being our Chairman for 4½ years and for agreeing to stay on longer than he intended because our AGM was delayed by the pandemic.  He continues as a trustee.

Dinah Harrison, who has served as our Secretary for an astonishing 43 years, was elected by the trustees as our new Chairman.  Wendy Beatty was elected as our new Secretary.

We are delighted that Dinah and Wendy have taken on these important roles.

Dinah is our eighth Chairman and Wendy just our third Secretary since our foundation in 1977.

30 November 2020

Motorised Chairs for Intra-Vitreal Injections

The Friends have funded two fully motorised chairs, with footrests, for use with patients receiving intra-vitreal injections in Out-Patient Departments in Weston General Hospital and the South Bristol Community Hospital.  The chairs are:

  • more comfortable for patients and adjustable to give them better support when undergoing this fairly daunting monthly procedure;
  • easy for the staff to manoeuvre & height-adjustable to avoid risk of back injury; and
  • robust enough to cope with high levels of usage and should last significantly longer than similar previous chairs.

We have also funded two more of these Takagi motorised chairs as well as two autodesk workstations for use in the BEH outpatient clinics, ensuring that clinicians can use identical equipment in all eight clinics.

These grants cost £28,255.

23 October 2020 updated 15 April 2021

New Slit Lamp and Table for Emergency Department

We have purchased a new slit lamp and table to replace Emergency Department equipment which was over 20 years’ old.

The new slit lamp has superior optics for examining patients’ eyes in more detail.  The wheelchair-friendly table means patients with limited mobility are spared the strain of transferring to another chair.  This saves time and effort and allows staff to examine more patients per day.

Katie Lear (Emergency Department Sister) and Rhys Harrison (Consultant Ophthalmologist and ED Service Lead) are both overjoyed with the new equipment.  Rhys said “I thank the Friends for this most exceptional gift.  The optics are fantastic and it is buttery smooth.  We really do appreciate your kind support.  I now have staff fighting to go in the room with it.  So from all of the Emergency Department team, a big thank you.”

This grant cost £21,230.

1 September 2020

Janet Coakham

We are sad to report the death, on 16 March 2020, of Janet Coakham.  Janet served as a trustee of Friends of Bristol Eye Hospital for 15 years, from September 1988 until January 2004.  She was pleased to be able to do something for the hospital staff and patients as she was so grateful for the laser treatment which saved her vision.  She was Vice-Chairman of the Friends from July 1991 until her resignation over 12 years later.

She was also the first editorial assistant of the British Journal of Neurosurgery which started at Frenchay in 1987.  She single-handedly saved it when the editor unexpectedly resigned and she ran it herself for two years until a new editor was appointed in 1992.  It is now a well-established international journal.

Janet had a quiet, unassuming manner and natural charm.  She was an utterly reliable practical help, especially when it came to organizing fund-raising social events.  She was kind, fun to be with and an elegant and reassuring presence on all occasions.  Friends’ Chairman Richard Markham says “She is and will be sadly missed by a very great number of people in Bristol”.

27 October 2020

Thank you to our anonymous donors

We do like to thank all our donors individually but often we are unable to do so, either because they wish to give anonymously or because although we know their name we have no contact details.  Then there are those who give, often via Facebook, in celebration of someone’s special birthday or anniversary.   As well as the one-off anonymous donations, we currently receive regular donations directly into our bank account every month from two unknown supporters.

As we are unable to thank any of you directly, please accept our grateful thanks here – and, if you are one of those whose special occasion prompted donations, please pass on our thanks to all your friends or family who donated.

1 May 2020 , updated 5 August


We have appointed Donorbox to replace The Wonderful Organisation as our online donation service.  This is live now and you can donate via Donorbox here, including Gift Aid.

Donorbox is a more extensive service than Wonderful.  For example, you can donate in honour or memory of someone; tell us whether and how you wish us to correspond with you or any particular reason why you are donating.

Regrettably, Wonderful were forced to cease operating on 31 March 2020 – as a consequence of staff shortages caused by the Covid-19 emergency.  This was disappointing as the service was entirely free.  Thank you to everyone who donated or raised funds for us using Wonderful.  We were very grateful for the service provided by Wonderful and their sponsors.  Wonderful have said they hope to resume their service, and if so we may well use both Wonderful and Donorbox.

1 April 2020, last updated 10 August 2020

In Sight

Our magazine In Sight is available from display racks throughout the hospital which also contain a leaflet describing how you can help the Friends, join or donate.

You can also view or download copies of In Sight here.

In Sight is distributed to all members and supporters who want to receive it.  If you would like a copy by post, please contact the Secretary.

Production of In Sight in 2020 has been delayed by the Covid-19 emergency.  We will publish a new edition as soon as we can.

25 February 2019, last updated 30 November 2020


The General Data Protection Regulation requires us to protect personal data, inform supporters what data we hold for them, how we use it, and how it can be viewed, amended or deleted. We have written to all members, supporters and volunteers setting out how we comply with GDPR.

If you have any question about the data we may hold for you or wish us to amend or delete anything, please contact the Secretary.

17 May 2018, last updated 31 July 2020

From our archives

A young patient admires the inmates of the new aquarium purchased by the Friends in 2011 in the then-new children’s unit in the Outpatient Department on Level 1.  The aquarium has been maintained by the Friends ever since and remains very popular with children.