A kind message

We received this message from Stephen Rhodes on 16 November 2023:

“My wife had cause to visit you for the second time in an emergency having sustained her second detached retina in 18 months.  Thanks to your excellent service and fantastic prompt response, she has made a full recovery and feels that her eyesight has gone back to how it was before the retina detached.  Not only have you repaired two detached retinas for her, you have dealt with the cataracts in each eye as well.  People are only too quick to complain about some of the care they receive through the NHS but without your prompt action and the skilled doctors and nurses who looked after her, she would be blind.  I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done.”

Thank you Stephen; we have forwarded your very kind message to the hospital manager who has shared it with the staff concerned.

The picture is one of the brickwork mural panels at the hospital, recently deep cleaned with assistance from the Friends.

17 November 2023, archived on 15 February 2024

Our new Chairman in 2023

Kay McCluskey was elected as the Friends’ ninth Chairman in May 2023.  As a grateful patient of the Eye Hospital, Kay became a trustee of the Friends in January 2016.  She chairs our Events sub-committee and is also on our Finance and Governance sub-committees.

Prior to retiring in December 2023, Kay was a Personal Injuries Consultant with Enable Law – one of the UK’s leading specialist medical negligence, personal injury and mental capacity law firms.  Working for over 40 years in the field of personal injury claims, she is proud to have been recognised by Chambers as being in the top tier of personal injury lawyers in Bristol and the South West.

She is also a member of the Board of Headway Bristol and a member and former President of the Bristol Medico-Legal Society.

24 October 2023, updated and archived 25 January 2024

Our new Secretary in 2023

Carole Brooke was elected as our fourth Secretary in September 2023.

Having been treated at the Bristol Eye Hospital for the past two years (and still ongoing), Carole became a trustee in May 2023.

“Becoming a Trustee seemed fitting to give a little back to the staff who use their skills and expertise to benefit so many people.  It wasn’t a difficult decision and taking on the role of Secretary will also support the Friends in their excellent work.”

At other times, Carole can be found hacking at a golf ball at Long Ashton Golf Club, playing with her three grandchildren or helping to run a community health service called The Nailsea Leg Club!  She likes to keep busy!

Before retiring, Carole was a GP Practice Manager, firstly in Shirehampton and then in her home town of Nailsea.

25 October 2023, archived on 25 January 2024

Christmas Cards on sale in BEH 2023

Designs available can be seen at the booking-in desk on the ground floor or via the button below.

Each pack costs £3 (regardless of any price shown on the pack).  Packs contain ten cards of the same design plus envelopes.

Cards can be purchased from the booking-in desk near the main entrance doors.  Sales are open between 8am and 5pm.

You can pay by credit or debit card.  You can also pay by cash but staff will not be able to give you any change (and we receive the excess as a donation).

Cards are usually on sale in the hospital from mid October until Christmas Eve.  If you would like to purchase cards at other times of year, please contact the Treasurer.

20 October 2023, archived on 17 January 2024
Christmas Card Designs

Friends’ AGM 2023

At our AGM on Wednesday 10 May 2023:

11 May 2023

Annual General Meeting 2023

Our AGM will be held on Wednesday 10 May 2023 at 6.15pm.

The meeting will be held in the Hospital Boardroom.  Members may choose to attend in person or, if they prefer, online.  Full details of how to attend will be sent to all members in April.  In Sight 2023 will also be distributed before the AGM.

The Trustees are delighted that Rani Sebastian (Glaucoma consultant and the Eye Hospital’s new Clinical Director) and Sarah Swift (NHS Deputy Divisional Director with responsibility for Ophthalmology) will be there to say a few words about the importance of the Friends’ support for the hospital.  Mark Stevens (the Eye Hospital’s General Manager) and Jess Moss (the hospital’s new Matron) are also expected to attend.

30 March 2023, updated 26 April, archived 11 May

Richard Markham stands down as a Friends’ Trustee

We are sad to report that Richard Markham has stood down after serving as a trustee for seven years including four as Chairman.  A Life Member of the Friends since 2002, Richard has supported and encouraged our activities since the charity’s earliest days.  We greatly appreciated his increased commitment and contribution to the Friends after his official retirement from full-time consultancy at BEH, even while he continued to help the hospital by taking clinics.

We shall miss his wise counsel and deep knowledge and experience.  We thank him profoundly for his support.

30 March 2023
Gail Glew and Jenny Ward at their retirement celebration in July 2022

Devoted to Bristol Eye Hospital

We are delighted to welcome Gail Glew and Jenny Ward as trustees.  Gail and Jenny both retired from the hospital after a truly astonishing 51 years’ service each for the Bristol NHS Trust.  Prior to her retirement in July 2022, Jenny attended our trustees’ meetings for many years (as the representative for all the nursing staff), advising us on grants and assisting with fundraising events.

As trustees, Gail and Jenny will continue to help us support the hospital.  Their astounding loyalty, long experience and passion for serving the hospital’s patients and all things BEH will be invaluable.

Both served as new co-opted trustees until our AGM on 10 May 2023, when they were elected as trustees by the Friends’ members.

27 January 2023, amended 31 March 2023, updated and archived 16 October

Team Veolia fundraising

On 28 September 2022, Team Veolia climbed the 886m of Pen y Fan Mountain in support of Friends of Bristol Eye Hospital.

Stuart Elliott, Veolia’s Area Sales Manager South & Wales. said “The team consisted of 7 of us and we spent a great day enjoying the terrific views over Wales whilst raising funds for a great cause.

In total we raised £565 for the Friends to help and support the immense work of the Bristol Eye Hospital.”

We are very grateful to Stuart and his colleagues for this super fundraising.  Many thanks.

2 December 2022, archived on 21 April 2023

New telephone number

We have a new telephone number: 0300 102 4556.

Calls to this number are free from UK landlines and mobiles.

1 August 2022

Thank you, Gail

In September 2021 Gail Glew, one of Bristol Eye Hospital’s ward nurses, completed 50 years’ service for the NHS in Bristol.  She has dedicated her entire nursing career to the care of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust’s patients, so this truly is a lifetime achievement.  Although the Trust does have long service badges, there is none which recognizes this extraordinarily long period of service.  So BEH asked us if we would make a modest contribution to pay for food and refreshments to allow Gail’s colleagues to mark the occasion in a small and appropriately distanced celebration.  We were delighted to do so and we say a heartfelt “Thank you!” to Gail on behalf of the Friends and all the patients she has cared for since 1971.

5 April 2022, archived on 3 August

Everything I Can See

Emma Don held an exhibition entitled “Everything I Can See” at Cardiff School of Art & Design from 8 to 14 June 2022.

Emma raised funds for the Friends in thanks for treatment and care she has received for anterior uveitis at Bristol Eye Hospital since 2012.

“Eyesight is such an important sense for everyone, and this becomes even more so on receiving a diagnosis adversely affecting that.”

Emma specialises in 3D stop motion animation which is a very visual medium.  However she incorporates audio into her work to make it more accessible for the visually impaired.

You can watch Emma’s exhibition video or support her fundraising via the buttons below.

24 March 2022, updated 8 September, archived 9 January 2023
Emma Don’s Exhibition Video
Support Emma’s fundraising
David Easty 1933-2022 Friends' Chairman 2003-09

Professor David Easty 1933-2022

It was with sadness that we learnt of the death in January 2022 of David Easty, for 27 years Consultant in Ophthalmology at Bristol Eye Hospital, the first Professor of Ophthalmology at Bristol University, founder of the National Eye Research Centre (now Sight Research UK) and Chairman of Friends of Bristol Eye Hospital from 2003 until 2009.

David was a member of the Friends from 1979 and a loyal supporter.  We were honoured and delighted when, after retiring from a long and distinguished career in the course of which corneal transplant surgery was transformed, he became our Chairman.  During his tenure he instituted numerous fundraising events and activities which increased our profile, doubled our revenue from such events and set a new standard.

A patient recently wrote: “David Easty was my corneal consultant for nearly 20 years and performed a complicated transplant on a congenital glaucoma eye.  The care he gave me through a succession of post-operative problems was second to none.  Nothing was too much trouble and he supported me through many crises.  I felt we were in it together and that he wanted the better vision I craved almost as much as I did.” – a heart-felt tribute giving a patient’s perspective on David’s skill and care as a consultant.

We remember David with huge gratitude and affection.

Read More
23 March 2022,  archived on 29 July 2022
Alex Sherman at The Old Forge Inn, Whitminster

Fundraising at The Old Forge Inn, Whitminster

Following an operation at the hospital, Alex Sherman, the Manager of The Old Forge Inn in Whitminster near Gloucester, was so pleased with the care received at Bristol Eye Hospital that he organised a series of fundraising events at the Inn.

Despite events and numbers attending often being limited by the pandemic, he raised £318 (including Gift Aid).

22 December 2021, archived on 26 July 2022

Thank you, Peter

Peter Turner stood down at our AGM after over 19 years as a trustee.  He first came to a Friends’ meeting in January 2002 after hearing a talk from Consultant Ophthalmologist Mike Potts to the Bristol Society of Opticians.  Peter was elected as a trustee in May 2002 and served without a break until July 2021.

Peter is the third generation Optometrist now running his family’s practice Turners Opticians.  In addition he works part time as a Senior Optometrist in the glaucoma & cataract clinics at Bristol Eye Hospital.  In common with most health care providers at this time, he is catching up on a backlog of around nine months’ work as well as dealing with the current workload, so his commitments to his patients and to his wife and growing family of three are keeping him fully occupied.

Peter’s knowledge, experience, opinion and advice have been an invaluable help to his fellow trustees.  It’s been a long and happy association and we thank him so much for the many years of service and support he has given to the Friends.

3 August 2021 archived on 21 March 2022
Chairman Dinah Harrison

New Chairman and Secretary

At the trustees’ meeting following our online AGM on Tuesday 24 November 2020, 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 was elected by the trustees as our new Chairman, after serving as our Secretary for an astonishing 43 years.  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, archived on 26 July 2021
Janet Coakham

Janet Coakham

Janet Coakham, who died on 16 March 2020, was a trustee of the Friends for 15 years (1988 to 2004) and Vice-Chairman for 12½ years.  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 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 said “She is and will be sadly missed by a very great number of people in Bristol”.

27 October 2020, moved to archive 5 May 2021

Mark Carwardine

In September 2019, celebrated zoologist, wildlife photographer and environmentalist Mark Carwardine gave a most entertaining illustrated presentation at Ashton Court Mansion on his “Travels and Tribulations of a Zoologist” around the world.

100 supporters thoroughly enjoyed the show which raised £1,500 for the Friends.

Ashcombe Park Bowling Club Captains’ Day 2019

Bowling club’s charity of the year 2019

Friends of Bristol Eye Hospital was Ashcombe Park Bowling Club‘s Charity of the Year for 2019.  Martin Paterson said “As captain, I have the choice of which charity my club will support throughout the year.  Many of our members, including myself, are currently undergoing or have received treatment at Bristol Eye Hospital.  Therefore, to show our gratitude for all the treatment we have received, and after talking with Professor Sparrow, it was an automatic choice to support Friends of Bristol Eye Hospital.”

Overall, the club’s members raised £1,411 for us.  Thank you very much!

27 March 2019, updated 5 May 2021
Camilla Drinkall presenting the cheque to Friends’ Treasurer Simon St Leger-Harris

Moorwood Art Show 2019

Moorwood Art is a contemporary fine art gallery in an ancient bluebell wood in Bruton, Somerset. Artists’ work is presented within a relaxed home environment and sculpture is displayed within the surrounding gardens and woodland.

The Friends were delighted that Moorwood Art made us their charity of the year for their Art Show in 2019. The show, which ran for two weeks in March, displayed the work of 45 artists, including paintings, sculpture, wood turning and pottery – and raised £1,000 for the Friends.

Camilla Drinkall, who has organised the annual Moorwood Art Show since 2010, chose the Friends as their charity of the year because of the excellent care and treatment given by Bristol Eye hospital to her husband Philip as he suffered from very bad short sight and had two lens implants in 2018.

1 April 2019, updated 28 June 2019


The General Data Protection Regulation requires us to protect personal data, inform trustees, volunteers, members and other supporters what data we hold for them, how we use it, and how it can be viewed, amended or deleted.  In May 2018, we wrote to all members and supporters setting out how we comply with GDPR.  You can view our current Privacy Policy here:

Privacy Policy

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, archived 27 September 2021