Olympian, Commonwealth champion and former Strictly Come Dancing contestant, Claudia Fragapane, has been announced as a Charity Champion for Bristol hospitals charity Above & Beyond

Above & Beyond is the local charity fundraising for all nine city centre hospitals sites, many of which are specialist centres for the South West region. Each year it raises £3m for projects that make a real difference to the care and experience of over 800,000 patients and the 9,000 hospital staff who treat them.

Fragapane, who trains at Bristol Hawks Gymnastics, will work with the charity to help raise awareness about fundraising events and the difference donations to a local charity can make.

Above & Beyond

On a recent visit, Claudia met some of the charity’s volunteers and saw the difference donations have already made in the hospitals, from funding state-of-the-art equipment in Bristol Royal Hospital for Children to funding groundbreaking research in Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre.

She commented: “I’m so excited to be working with Above & Beyond as a charity champion. It means a lot to me to work with a charity that supports a cause in my hometown of Bristol, where I live and train.

“As a gymnast, I know how important it is to stay fit and healthy – a small injury could mean the end of my career – and I wanted to help raise awareness about the need to provide our hospitals with things above and beyond what the NHS has the means to do.

“Hospitals play such a vital role in our community but sometimes I think it’s not until people need treatment they remember that the doctors and nurses are working hard to save lives, mend broken bones, and treat all number of injuries, every minute of every day. And to do the best job possible, they need the latest equipment, technologies and environments.”

The charity’s aim is to make a difference to every patient and every condition by creating welcoming hospital environments, funding innovative research and providing world-class facilities, supporting staff training and purchasing state-of-the-art equipment.

Sarah Talbot-Williams, CEO at Above & Beyond, said: “We are thrilled to have Claudia join us as a member of the team. She is such an inspirational member of the Bristol community and I know patients and staff have been following and supporting her for many years.

“With constant pressure on the NHS, it’s more important than ever that we support our local hospitals and help maintain the outstanding care for hundreds of thousands of patients. Without the support of people like Claudia, our corporate partners, community fundraisers and hospital staff, even simple things such as free Wi-Fi for patients to stay connected with friends and family or the free hospital bus for patients, wouldn’t be possible.”

Above & Beyond has been working to raise charitable funds for University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust for over 40 years. During that time it has raised £80m for projects in nine city centre hospitals including Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol Heart Institute, Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre and Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.

To support Above & Beyond, visit www.aboveandbeyond.org.uk

Featured image: Claudia Fragapane with fundraisers Lydia McGivern, Amy Barnard-Smith and volunteer Suzi Best