Thousands raised in memory of Rich will fund new ward

LEGACY Thousands have been raised in Richard Bowler's name after his sudden death
LEGACY Thousands have been raised in Richard Bowler's name after his sudden death
Picture: Joe Pepler

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MONEY raised in memory of a Locks Heath teenager will help to fund a new children’s ward.

To mark the 10th anniversary of 15-year-old Richard Bowler’s death, the Smile4Wessex campaign is donating £150,000 towards a £600,000 project to build a new children’s neurosciences centre at Southampton general hospital.

Richard collapsed on the football pitch during a training session with his club the Sarisbury Sparks in July 2002.

Since the appeal started in 2004, more than £550,000 has been raised for the charity, which funds projects to enhance patient care at the Wessex neurological centre.

Neil Westbrook, co-ordinator of the appeal, said: ‘This project comes at the 10th anniversary of Richard’s passing and is probably the most appropriate legacy that we could have.

‘The children’s neuro team perform little miracles every day. The centre will be a state-of-the-art-centre in which they can do even more, for many more children.

‘It will be bright, airy and spacious and parents will be able to stay with their children.

‘It’s a great project for the charity to be involved with.’

The centre will treat children with a wide range of acute neurological conditions.

It will be around twice the size of the existing one.

Additional toilets, a bathroom and a full wet room will be provided. Children who are well enough to play will have a playroom.

When it all gets too much, parents will have their own quiet room where they can escape for a while.

Neil said he was thrilled that the appeal has been such a huge success.

‘I’m immensely proud but if I could turn the clock back 10 years and give his parents their son back I would do it in the blink of an eye,’ he said.

‘Rich would have a smile on his face.

‘I speak to a lot of parents and a lot of families who are grateful for what’s been achieved because they know it’s helped them.

‘The appeal has achieved so much for so many people. This is a real legacy project.’

Visit smile4wessex.org.