Airedale Hospital has launched an urgent appeal to raise £100,000 to fund vital resources for its new accident and emergency department.

Funds are desperately needed for a range of facilities, such as ‘distraction walls’ to help anxious children awaiting assessment and treatment.

And the Keighley News is joining forces with hospital bosses to get the fundraising campaign off the ground.

Schools, businesses, community groups, patients and their families are also being urged to show their support.

Events are being organised and people are urged to stage their own.

The appeal also aims to fund more resources to help vulnerable patients suffering from dementia through a specialist ‘Butterfly Room’. And state-of-the-art equipment, including cardiac monitors, will improve care for the thousands who use the department every year.

Among those attending the appeal launch (above) were Keighley News editor Richard Parker, Rendezvous Hotel owner Malcolm Weaving, Ann Christian of LCF Law, Butterfly Scheme founder Barbara Hodkinson, Airedale Hospital NHS Trust chief executive Bridget Fletcher and emergency department matron Lisa Dixon. Richard said: “The new emergency department will provide unrivalled facilities, and it is a service each and every one of us might have to call upon at some time during our lives.

“With the support of the public, we can help ensure the care patients receive is further improved.

“Readers have already demonstrated incredible generosity through their support of the Million for Manorlands appeal, and we hope they will get fully behind the hospital’s fundraising campaign.”

Meg Crossley, consultant in emergency medicine at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, stressed the importance of facilities such as the distraction walls for young patients.

“They will be wall-to-ceiling and play a vital role in helping parents entertain their child if they become agitated or distressed,” she said.

“The walls are so important for children who find coming into hospital – particularly in an emergency situation – quite frightening.”

Barbara Hodkinson – founder of the national Butterfly Scheme, which helps hospital staff care for and improve the health and wellbeing of patients with dementia – is among those backing the appeal.

“Family carers find the process of supporting someone with dementia in a typical A&E environment extremely challenging,” she said.

“By creating a calmer, more reassuring area, we can help patients cope better, which improves the chance of successful care.

“Through its emergency department appeal, Airedale is showing how forward-thinking it is in making the A&E experience kinder and more supportive for these vulnerable patients.”

An incredible 53,489 people visited A&E at Airedale last year, and 5,012 of them were aged five and under.

On a busy day, more than 200 patients and their families attend the department.

Ann Christian – of Ilkley-based law firm LCF, which is sponsoring the appeal – said: “We support a variety of national charities but wanted to become particularly involved in a local charity, where we could really make a difference.

“I’ve seen first-hand how good the distraction walls are when I’ve taken my own children into hospital.”

Others at the launch included Malcolm Weaving – owner of the Rendezvous Hotel at Skipton, which is also acting as a sponsor – and Eileen Proud and Mike Yates of hospital charities the Friends of Airedale and New Ventures.

The new £6 million emergency department is due to open in October.

Facilities will include separate adult and children’s waiting areas, a quiet room for friends and families to use during stressful events, and improved privacy and dignity for vulnerable older patients, their families and carers.

Call 01535 294546, e-mail charitable.funds@anhst.nhs or visit to find out how you can support the appeal.

Donations can be made by texting EDAP50 £5 to 70070, online at or by sending a cheque – made payable to ‘Airedale NHS Foundation Trust Charitable Funds’, with ED Appeal written on the back or in the accompanying letter – to the hospital.

And don’t forget to contact the Keighley News via or on 01535 606611 (option three) to tell us about the wonderful care you’ve received at Airedale Hospital’s A&E or to publicise your fundraising activities.