Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Article reproduced by kind permission of Newsquest Essex

Billericay Town Guide gives details of some of our nationally-known charities that are close to people’s hearts. Rarely do we see local publicity to raise funds to help renal patients. Life saving dialysis costs huge amounts so it’s vital to make people aware of BASHARP (Basildon Hospital Association of Renal Patients), a charity formed in 1999 at the instigation of Dr Stephen Morgan. At the time, he was Head of the Renal Unit at Basildon Hospital. Today, he is Medical Director for Basildon Hospital and President of BASHARP.

Local resident Doreen Potter is our well-known President of Billericay WI, but she also raises funds for BASHARP. On Wednesday mornings you’ll find her at the Renal Out-Patients Dept at Basildon Hospital. Here she sells new (unwanted) gifts on her stall. Her late husband George was the first chairman of the charity. It was Doreen who alerted me to another special person, Peter Playford, a bank retiree, who crossed the Sahara Desert in his extraordinary attempt in raising funds for BASHARP.

"I travelled to Khartoum in January," said Peter of Middle Cloister. "There were eight of us crossing the Sahara. The journey took 15 days and we covered more than 250 miles. With temperatures in the 40s, I found that the camel's gait, the unusual food and the heat badly affected me. We weren’t able to stop as the journey was planned to get from one water hole to another, but the tribesmen helped and we managed to finish the trip safely. Night-time was 30-40 degrees colder and we were perpetually worried by wild animals and snakes. I made sure my tent had no peep holes for intruders!" Peter raised £1,424 through this venture and BASHARP are grateful for this marvellous addition to their funds.

Mike Langstone, current BASHARP Chairman, said: "My involvement came about when my wife Muriel became a dialysis-patient seven years ago. We have raised over £50,000 during this time and all funds are for the patients and the renal unit. This year we have purchased a 'Site Rite' machine for £10,000, a vital piece of equipment making life easier for nursing staff and renal patients."

Closer to home we learn about Billericay renal transplant patient Norbert McGarr who takes part in the London Barts Transplant Team at the annual British Transplant Games. Norbert is a gold medallist and a well-known contender. All ages take part from toddlers to octogenarians. Their aim is to promote health & fitness after transplant and raise awareness of organ donation. Norbert with his wife, Lesley and friends travelled to Sheffield recently for the Games. Last year saw the 30th gathering in Edinburgh. Details and short film-clips can be seen on website www.transplant.org.uk.

For details of BASHARP contact: 01277 657104