My penultimate blog before I leave this super Charity to go on to pastures new will be about the opportunities we have had (and the Charity will continue to have) to show our donors around our two world class hospitals. When I stopped working for The National Trust and started to work here at Royal Brompton, I thought ‘Oh my goodness, how do I actually show people what their generous donations achieve?’ I was used to showing our donors tapestries, or coastline, or heathlands or stately homes or Bruegel pictures etc. I couldn’t quite see how I could share what differences our donors could make in our hospitals. How wrong I was.

We have had the most extraordinary visits behind the scenes at Royal Brompton and Harefield and it has meant so much to be able to show our donors the impact of their gifts. You could write long reports, and detailed evaluation documents, but nothing beats showing donors a brand new intensive care unit, or a hybrid theatre, or even something as ordinary as a consulting room where the consultations take place by Skype and Zoom to save patients travelling into the city.

Over the years together with the fundraisers, I have had the privilege of showing donors everything from sequencers for rapid diagnosing, to leading edge imaging and from children’s play areas to videos of treating a real time heart attack. Royal Brompton’s award winning Sprint team, which delivers amazing training, has invited our donors to practice CPR on their manikins. Donors have breathed into spirometers to see how cystic fibrosis patients can have their lung functions monitored. And guests have donned hard hats and high visibility jackets to walk around building sites and new operating theatres as they emerge.

So many people have helped the Charity make these visits possible, it is impossible to thank them all, but we could not have taken our donors to share these extraordinary experiences without Mark Bowers, Karen Shevlin, Joy Godden, Richard Grocott Mason, Mark Mason, Robert Craig, Piers McCleery and many many more.

My favourite memory was when we showed two of our most generous donors around our world class Genetics and Genomics Laboratory with Dr Debbie Morris Rosendahl and sharing the amazing world of diagnostics and discovery. And walking around what I understand is still the largest hybrid theatre in London – and possibly the UK – which the Charity helped to build with Dr Ulrich Rosendahl (yes, husband of Debbie) and learning just how advanced these facilities were.

So, I may not have tramped over coastlines or stood on rooftops as in my old life, but working at Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals Charity gave me equally amazing experiences and I cannot thank my donors and my NHS colleagues enough for the generosity in gifts, time and enthusiasm which has made this job like no other.