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Saints legends march on...

Saints legends march on for new children's emergency department

Four Saints legends have joined forces to support the development of Southampton’s new children’s emergency and trauma department.
Former players Francis Benali, Matt le Tissier and David Armstrong, along with 1976 FA Cup-winning boss Lawrie McMenemy have backed Southampton Hospital Charity’s campaign to fundraise £2 million to build the state of the art centre at Southampton Children’s Hospital. 
The stars have left their famous inscriptions on the charity’s “autograph bus”, a collaboration with local company Xelabus which involved the bus making a series of VIP stops along routes in Eastleigh and Southampton where celebrities and prominent figures from across Hampshire can make their mark.
Franny, who last year completed a personal 1,500-mile charity challenge – Benali’s Big Race – said: “As not only a local boy but, more importantly, a dad, I wholeheartedly support this endeavour to create a dedicated unit for children who tragically find themselves in cases of emergency and trauma in the community.
“This development is going to put Southampton on the map. It’s time we started celebrating the cutting-edge work happening in our city and all get behind this crucial appeal.”
Matt added: “We were all so happy to get together in support of this fantastic campaign.
“I’ve got a huge deal of love for the hospital and it’s really exciting to see the children’s services taking a massive step in such a pioneering direction. 
“I wish the charity the best of luck with the rest of their fundraising and encourage everyone to get involved in this critical cause.”
The new facility will be spread across over 1,390m² and is expected to see more than 30,000 youngsters every year. 
It will offer an improved layout and space for assessment and treatment with the needs of children presented in an emergency all dealt with in one specialised area. This will include a dedicated reception, triage and waiting room, children’s emergency x-ray, procedural sedation room, acute assessment unit, observed treatment area and short stay unit.
As part of the campaign, the Daily Echo has recently joined forces with Southampton Hospital Charity’s appeal partner The Murray Parish Trust and The Barker Mill Foundation to launch the Match My Money promise – a call to local businesses to donate £1,000 to the appeal to total £40,000 which will be match-funded by the foundation.
So far businesses and the local community have donated more than £10,500 in a month. In addition to creating and running the charity “autograph bus”, Xelabus has made a separate donation of £1000 to Match My Money.
Gareth Blair, managing director of Xelabus, said: “The idea of the bus was to not only get the charity message out there to as wide an audience as possible, but also to showcase just how many prominent figures in the community support the need for this important appeal.
“We wanted to take our own support even further and donating to Match My Money seemed to be the perfect way to do that and we’re now looking forward to meeting more supporters of this exciting project.”
Amber Badger-Bell, major gifts officer at Southampton Hospital Charity, said: “It’s been wonderful having some of Saints’ ultimate legends together in celebration of the charity’s latest venture.
“The support for the new children’s emergency and trauma department in such a short amount of time has been fantastic – and we would like to thank everyone for that.”
She added: “However, we still have a long way to go before we hit out £2 million target. Whether you are a member of the community or a business looking to support a charitable cause, please do consider getting behind this campaign. 
You can support the campaign by donating to the Match My Money initiative here or find out more about the new children’s emergency and trauma department here.

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