Bowled over by Bedser legacy

A GENEROUS legacy bequeathed by local legend Sir Alec Bedser to support the Friends of Woking Community Hospital has been allocated to a new project worthy of carrying the great cricketer’s name.

The top Surrey and England bowler, who grew up in Horsell with his twin brother Eric – also a cricketing hero – spent his last days being cared for by staff at the hospital before he died in April 2010 at the age of 91.

The legacy amounts to more than £350,000, which will be used to set up an important new service joining hospital, community health and social care for some of the most vulnerable people in the community.

Launching at the end of the year, the Bedser Hub will be the first of three ‘locality hub’ services being set up in North West Surrey.

This innovation will allow frail, elderly people with several health complications or long-term issues to access a range of health, social and community services  all in one place.

Its aim is to help people to live an independent and fulfilled life in the community for as long as they are able, thus reducing the amount of visits made to A&E departments and hospital admissions.

Chair of the Friends of Woking Community Hospital, Jonathan Allan, said: “The Trustees are delighted to be able to support this project, using the Bedser legacy to create a facility that Woking can be proud of.”

Chief Executive of North West Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group, which is co-ordinating the project, Julia Ross, said: “We are extremely grateful that the Friends of Woking Community Hospital have agreed to make this donation in support of the Bedser Hub.

“The project is part of the Better Care Fund, set up by NHS England to support closer work between the NHS and social care, placing peoples’ wellbeing at the heart of health and care services. We’re confident this project will help improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”

Locality hubs are North West Surrey’s main Better Care Fund project and the result of collaborative working between a number of organisations, such as Woking’s GP practices, NHS Trusts, Virgin Care and local government.

Once someone has been referred there by their doctor, they will be supported by GPs, community nurses, social workers and other health and social care professionals.

Those directly involved in a patient’s care will be able to see the relevant information on a person’s health and social care record, which will help stop the frustration many patients experience by having to repeat themselves every time they visit a different service.

The hub will also have a community space and café, where people can enjoy a coffee and meal during their visit, as well as take part in exercise or social activities.

The Bedser Hub will be opening its doors at Woking Community Hospital by the end of the year.

The full service will be up and running by the time it formally opens on February 26, 2016, with local MP Jonathan Lord as guest of honour.

In June, former Prime Minister and personal friend of the Bedsers, Sir John Major unveiled a pair of towering bronze statues (Alec, left)depicting the local cricketing twins at either end of the Bedser Bridge in Woking.

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