North Devon District Hospital’s intensive care unit has two new ventilators thanks to a generous donation.

The Steel Charitable Trust donated £54,167 for the purchase of two Draeger Evita V500 ventilators prior to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The ventilators, which are already in use, were given in memory of trustee Anthony ‘Jim’ Hawkins, who died just over a year ago.

The Steel Charitable Trust manager, Isla Stanger, said: “The Steel Charitable Trust is pleased to honour the memory of its late Trustee, Anthony ‘Jim’ Hawkins - who died just over a year ago - by enabling the hospital to purchase these ICU ventilators.

“Jim was involved with The Steel Charitable Trust for over 35 years and was a keen supporter of many projects in the South West, particularly Devon where he lived with his wife, Maureen, for many years.

“It is thanks to Maureen, working with the hospital to identify the most beneficial and suitable use for Jim’s memorial grant, that the ventilators were chosen, and we hope they prove successful in aiding the recovery of many patients.”

Over and Above fundraiser Julie Whitton said: “I knew Jim - he was a remarkable and inspirational man. He was very kind, supportive and an active member of his local community. His sudden passing was a great shock, and he is much missed by us all.

“We are overwhelmed by the kind generosity of The Steel Charitable Trust and Jim’s wife Maureen on the donation of these state-of-the-art ventilators, which will help our patients who need support with their breathing.”

The ventilators will offer a combined fully-featured, high performance ventilation system with the Infinity Acute Care System.

NDDH’s intensive care unit and high dependency unit provides specialist care for those who need close monitoring and more intensive treatments.

ICU Clinical Matron Juliet Parkin said: “The majority of those patients admitted to ICU will require some level of support for their respiratory system, from receiving oxygen through a mask for a few hours to those who require full support of their respiratory system.

“These state-of-the-art new ventilators will be of great value. The multiple modes available mean that we can maximise the benefits to our patients by assisting their breathing in a way that supports their natural breathing pattern. We truly cannot thank The Steel Charitable Trust enough for their generous donation.”

For more information about The Steel Charitable Trust, visit its website.