Posts in Category: Volunteers

Congratulations to Dr Christopher Bonham and Dr Yuki Takagi who got married this weekend at a beautiful service in Dodford, Northamptonshire.

Chris & Yuki wedding photo

It was a wonderful day, one very much befitting of the couple. Thanks also to Wandifa Samateh and the rest of the Bansang Hospital management for sending such a nice letter to Chris. He was visibly moved when his father read out the words to the wedding party. He had no idea just how much his contribution during his 6 week stay was valued….and it gives him (and Yuki) an even stronger desire to contribute to Bansang in the future.

We wish them both all the best as they forge a new life together (and look forward to having them both return to Bansang in the future)

We are very pleased to announce that one of our ex-volunteers is going to be getting married.

Dr Chris & Yuki

Dr Chris Bonham volunteered alongside a colleague and friend (Dr Dominic Fudge) back in 2011. They made a fantastic contribution whilst in Bansang; delivering countless babies, and making numerous lifesaving interventions. They also brought real spirit and humour to the hospital – which is clear to see given how often the staff ask when they will be returning!

Chris will be marrying his fiancé, Dr Yuki Takagi, in a lovely, leafy village in Northamptonshire this coming June. Their wedding venue could not be further from the hot, dusty and challenging environment of Bansang. Yet it is perhaps a measure of them both that at this joyous moment in their lives, they will be forgoing gifts for themselves in favour of charity donations.

We are incredibly grateful to them both for choosing the BHA as one of their two chosen charities (Wateraid being the other beneficiary).

Here’s to Chris and Yuki’s wonderful future together (and to getting you both out to the Gambia in due course)

Stewart Robinson – our unsung hero!

  • Biset, Stuart and Demba
  • Stuart and Steve Clist with the farming team
  • Stuart being treated by Sulayman

It is my great pleasure to confirm that Stewart Robinson will be returning to Bansang. His trip this January will be his 13th to the hospital in 14 years! It is no exaggeration to say that his efforts have helped transform the way we deliver healthcare!

Prior to 2000, the hospital had a barely functional (and limited!) telephone system, and absolutely no internet access of any kind. Thanks to Stewart, they now have a hospital wide telephone system, as well as a fantastic computer infrastructure (provided in large part by Barclays Bank) that ensures the hospital remains online and in communication with the rest of the world.

Although Stewart’s modesty would perhaps have him saying otherwise, his interventions (along with Steve Clist, John Lovell, Keith Rose and Daniel Robinson) have made an incredible and ongoing difference. When an emergency comes in, we no longer have to rely on hospital porter’s running around the hospital trying to find member’s of the medical staff. Thanks to the telephone system, we are now able to call on the expertise of those member’s of staff most suited to the emergency – rather than just whoever can be found! This ability to strategically deploy the correct personnel ensures we deliver the best care to the greatest numbers of patients. & our hospital wide access to the internet means staff can liaise with experts across the country and around the world.

Our thanks go to Barclays Bank for their support of Stewart from 2000-2012, and to the many other people that have assisted over the years. Have a wonderful trip Stew, and enjoy your well earned Jul Brews!!

Paul and Vanessa Myers are to head out to Bansang in January, 2014

Paul and Vanessa Myers, Bansang Hospital Appeal

Paul and Vanessa Myers, who have been helping support the hospital for a number of years, will be spending 6 weeks of their time at Bansang Hospital in January 2014. They will be helping out with building work, IT support and child play therapy (along with the usual host of odd jobs that invariably present themselves!).

If you would like to help support the projects on which Paul and Vanessa will be working, you can do so by making a donation on their Virgin Money Giving page. Alternatively, if you fancy helping us reach our goals that bit sooner, why not open up your own Bansang Hospital Appeal fundraising page? Big event or small, we’re always thrilled to have new people supporting us!

You can set up a new BHA fundraising page by clicking here


Virgin Money Giving has been our donation platform of choice for a couple of years now. Unlike some of the other charity giving platforms, Virgin Money Giving is a non profit organisation, and as such, return a greater proportion of your donation to the Bansang Hospital Appeal. They also save our accountant the hugely time consuming task of reclaiming Gift Aid!

Thanks to a few hardy souls, our 43rd container is now on its way to Bansang!

Loading the 46th Bansang Hospital container

As ever, many thanks to all those that turned out to help! I’m sure I’d never have sent so many containers if I didn’t have such a fine group of volunteers that I can turn to each time a 40 footer needs loading!

Fortunately, the loading is also getting easier over time…thanks in part to having palletised aid – but also thanks to the efforts of people such as Lloyd, Bob and Steve who have got the art of loading down to a fine art!

This *may* just be the last container the BHA sends. We will instead squirrel away smaller amounts of aid in the containers sent by our partner organisations. Then again, we may just be loading another BHA container this time next year!!


International best-selling author, Simon Scarrow, becomes a patron of the Bansang Hospital Appeal

It is our pleasure to announce that author Simon Scarrow has become a patron of the Bansang Hospital Appeal. We are greatly appreciative of all his efforts in bringing the story of Bansang Hospital to the fore.

“The first time I was aware of the BHA was when BBC’s regional programme ‘Inside Out’ carried a feature on Anita and the vital support the hospital was offering to people in Gambia. It was impossible not to be inspired by the dedication of those involved and at the same time to be aware of the much greater efficiency of a charity with such a specific focus. Fortunately the BBC provided a link to the BHA and I was able to follow it up and make my first donation.

Since then I have been working on coming up with various ways to increase the cash flow and have arranged for my speaking fees to be paid directly to the BHA. In addition, my rather enterprising wife and sons have set up an online shop to sell signed first editions of each of my new books so that the profits from the sales can go to charity. I’m delighted to say that it has been a success and I am trying to convince other authors to set up something similar.

In between writing books I am hugely looking forward to getting more involved with the BHA.”

Thanks once again, Simon. We look forward to the future partnership, and to sharing with you the wonderful story of Bansang Hospital.

Former British High Commissioner to the Gambia, Phil Sinkinson OBE, becomes the charities first patron!

I am very pleased to announce that former British High Commissioner to The Gambia, Phil Sinkinson, has agreed to become a patron of the Bansang Hospital Appeal. In his former role, I could always count on his calm and assured nature, good judgement and advice whenever it was needed, not forgetting the essential ingredient, a sense of humour! The staff all loved to see him and his wife Clare on their numerous visits to the hospital. Their easygoing nature and humanity clearly struck a chord with the staff of Bansang, who have very much taken them in as members of the Bansang Hospital Family. Indeed, it was at the request of the staff that the Malnutrition Ward be dedicated to Phil Sinkinson, and what a memorable evening that was. He was a wonderful representative of the British Government and now that he is retired he will be an equally good patron.

Here are a few words from Phil ;

“I first met Anita Smith in April 2007 at Bansang Hospital; it was over 50 celsius and my first visit there. I was then the High Commissioner to The Gambia and was making my first tour around the country. We had called into Bansang Hospital to thank the staff for their life saving assistance earlier in the year when a VSO had suffered severe neck/spinal damage having been involved in a road traffic accident. The CEO mentioned to me that a British woman was there at the same time and asked whether I would like to meet her. Well, once met never forgotten. That introduction was typical of Anita’s understatement of herself. Anita showed us around the hospital explaining all the time what had happened over the previous 15 years and outlining what she wanted to achieve in the future. It was an experience never to be repeated. My wife Clare and I have been huge fans both of Anita, her splendid family and Bansang Hospital ever since. I am delighted and privileged to have been asked to become a Patron of the Hospital together with Simon Scarrow. I look forward to helping Anita and her “band of brothers” make Bansang Hospital an even better “haven” than she has managed so brilliantly to achieve up to now.”