A new fundraising initiative is being launched today by the Royal United Hospital’s Forever Friends Appeal and organisers are delighted to have acting star Brenda Blethyn backing this new scheme.

The Be a Brick/Buy a Brick scheme is being launched as a fundraiser for the RUH Cancer Care Campaign, following the huge success of the Buy a Baby Brick scheme that helped build the new Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care.

To mark the launch of Be a Brick today, a delivery of giant cardboard bricks will be made to the hospital, in a digger kindly provided by MJ Church.

Builder Big Ted and Brenda Blethyn will greet the digger and will have the task of delivering these virtual bricks to the current Cancer Unit.

Having only just finished filming new episodes of the TV drama Vera, playing Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope, Brenda Blethyn is excited to be visiting Bath, as a keen supporter of The Forever Friends Appeal, especially to launch the Be a Brick scheme.

She said: “I am so happy to be able to come and support The Forever Friends Appeal at the launch of their new Be a Brick scheme. I was very impressed with the success of the premature baby unit. The Forever Friends turns dreams into reality."

The new scheme is being launched alongside the appeal’s brand new Be a Brick builder bear logo – that sees Big Ted wearing a Be a Brick T-shirt, builder’s hat and spade.

Head of fundraising for the appeal team, Tim Hobbs, said: “The appeal’s new builder bear logo with a Be a Brick T-shirt is the perfect representation of the new scheme. Everyone really loved our Buy a Baby Brick scheme that raised money for the new NICU, so we hope this Be a Brick scheme is just as popular.

“We are especially thrilled to have Brenda’s backing. With her initials being BAB – it just seems so fitting that she is backing Be A Brick.”

This exciting new Be a Brick scheme will give the public the opportunity to Be a Brick! and Buy a Brick, Row or Wall to help raise funds to build a pioneering new Cancer Centre for the hospital.

In return for purchasing a virtual brick at the cost of £10 each, donors will receive a Be a Brick certificate and acknowledgement letter. If donors choose to purchase a virtual row for £100 or wall for £1,000, they will receive a certificate together with an acknowledgement of their chosen name within the design of the new Cancer Centre.

Anyone can purchase as many bricks, rows or walls as they would like and the scheme will be running throughout the duration of the Cancer Care Campaign, providing the opportunity to collect bricks. Individuals could buy a brick as a celebration gift, in memory of a loved one or even just for themselves. Schools, work places and groups of friends and family are encouraged to get together and aim to fundraise enough to purchase a row or even a wall.

Also attending the launch are two supporters of the appeal – 34-year-old Mark Hucklebridge from Colerne who has been fundraising for the Appeal’s Cancer Care Campaign following his diagnosis with cancer, and 71-year-old Geoff Hudd from Bath.

Both Mark and Geoff, who are running the Bath Half Marathon in four weeks’ time to raise funds for the new centre, are fully on board with the new Be a Brick scheme, as they know only too well how important it is to raise the funds needed to help build this new centre.

For further details of the appeal visit www.foreverfriendsappeal.co.uk or call (01225) 825691.