We hosted one of the most exciting events in my career last week – ‘An audience with Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub’. So, I must start this week’s blog with huge thanks to the Professor for his warmth, gentleness and thought-provoking insights into several decades of transforming people’s lives through complex heart and lung surgery. 

The wonderful Emily Maitlis pieced together this fascinating life story and it was truly awe-inspiring.  We are thrilled to have discovered a new venue – the Grade I listed Royal College of Physicians, which was a very appropriate and inspiring setting for this special evening. 

Great thanks also to illustrator and former The Times’ political cartoonist Gerald Scarfe for producing the brilliant picture of Sir Magdi for the front cover of our programme – they sold like hot cakes, unsurprisingly. We are grateful to Bircham Dyson Bell and Re:Cognition Health for generously sponsoring the evening and to our raffle prize donors for their unique prize donations including, a truly one-off signed print by Gerald Scarfe, the opportunity to design your own Aspinal of London handbag, and dinner for two at The Chelsea Ivy Garden.

And now for some news from Charity HQ. Our Marketing and Communications Manager is leaving for pastures new next month – thank you Jo Lewin for being a really accomplished, loyal and fun colleague. Luckily you are not going just yet but, my goodness, we will miss you.

Our Charity team is always looking forward and I am really excited about our #FitIn15 campaign to mark the 70th anniversary of NHS. Lots of hospital charities will be marking this anniversary in their own way, but I have to say I think our campaign is up there with the best… We’re asking our supporters to give the NHS the perfect birthday present by pledging to take on 15 minutes of physical or mental exercise and popping £1 in a collection box each day for 70 days, culminating in the NHS’ 70th! Find out more and sign up to join us here.  

We already have lots of people on board with our campaign with some really great 15-minute ideas, like Ailish here, who has pledged to read for 15 minutes every day. But we want hundreds to join us – will you?

I am going to extend my walk by 15 minutes every day, which should help with fitness, as well as raising money – luckily this challenge is falling just as the evenings are finally getting bright. Others have pledged to meditate, cut out sweet things, try out embroidery, go running and take up yoga. What will you do?  Every single pound will go directly to help patients through our Patients’ Fund, which buys things to make our patients’ lives that bit more comfortable throughout often long stays in hospital. 

If you sign up, will you let me know what you pledge to do? I would love to hear from you!