Saints legend backs children's emergency department appeal

 Benali with research nurse - web

Saints legend and fans’ favourite Francis Benali has called on the community to kick-start the second phase of Southampton’s children’s emergency and trauma department appeal.

The campaign reached £1 million in donations earlier this month but a further million in fundraising is required and will be matched with £2 million from the government and a further £800,000 from University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

The new facility, which is expected to see more than 30,000 youngsters every year from across the south of England, will include a state-of-the-art eight-bed observation area, 11 glass-fronted and sound proof cubicles and on-hand x-ray facilities.

“I have lived in Southampton all my life and am very proud of this city and what it has to offer,” said Franny, who made 311 appearances for Saints between 1988 and 2004.

“I have long been an admirer of our fantastic hospital trust, which has grown and developed so much over the years and is among the leading teaching hospitals in the country.

“Southampton Children’s Hospital is one of the leading lights of the organisation, with some truly outstanding clinicians and services and that is why I’m backing the children’s ED campaign and urge the public to also get behind the appeal and do whatever they can to help make a difference.”

He added: “None of us would ever want to be in the situation where we might need to use this kind of service, but it’s reassuring to know that it’s there and we already know the care and treatment provided by staff is first-class.

“But we know the facilities are in need of improvement to match the outstanding clinical expertise on offer and to meet the growing demand the service will face in the coming years.”

Jeneen Thomsen, head of major gifts at Southampton Hospital Charity, said: “We are so grateful to Franny for his continued support and we are pleased to have him on board to boost the appeal as we look to raise our second million.”

For more information on the children’s emergency and trauma department appeal, which is being led jointly by Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity and The Murray Parish Trust, visit

Fundraising developments, along with innovations in diabetes care and mental health for patients at Southampton Children’s Hospital, will be the focus of a members’ event tomorrow (Tuesday) from 6pm until 8pm in the Heartbeat Education Centre at Southampton General Hospital.

The event is open to all members (staff and public) and their guests, who can reserve a place by emailing Anyone interested in attending who is not currently a member can contact the membership team to register and reserve a place.

Posted on Monday 29 January 2018