PDSA's purpose built Newcastle
PetAid hospital at Cowgate, opened for business in July
1998. It replaced the hospital in Blandford Street which
had become too small to handle the number of cases with
which it was dealing. There was no room for expansion
of the old premises. PDSA were able to purchase land and
build from scratch, through the generosity of the Ann
Coleman Trust who gave half of the building costs. (The
other half came from PDSA's reserves, but, thanks to other
Trusts and fundraisers, some of this has now been put
The balance in the Catsup Project's
bank account recently reached just over £1,000 again,
so it seemed like a good time to hand over another cheque.
This time I arranged to make the presentation at the hospital
itself. Jen, Nora, Margaret, Helen and Ann from Winlaton,
all of whom have helped the Catsup Project, came along
too. None of them had actually been to a PetAid hospital
before, so for the first time, they were able to see what
their time and effort was helping to maintain. The Boys
sent their apologies. Despite numerous assurances that
they would not find themselves on an operating table,
being given a whiff of gas and then regaining consciousness
to discover they were minus a body part or two, they were
adamant. They had urgent appointments with a duvet and
a radiator that they were unable to cancel.
I took the digital camera with
me, and, with the hospital's permission, I was able to
take a number of pictures of the hospital, including some
behind the scenes. (Don't be disturbed, none of them are
graphic. I'm far too squeamish myself for that!) Please
remember as you look around, that
no state aid at all.
They are entirely dependant on
donations. I hope you'll be as impressed as we all were,
at how the money that comes in, is spent.
Now the introduction's over and
the pictures have all had time to load, please step inside
and take a short tour of the Newcastle hospital.
This is the reception area.
It's quiet in this picture, but it would have
been a different story a few hours earlier.
(We had naturally arranged
a time for our visit when the hospital was likely
to be at its quietest.)
This view of the reception
area is taken from a different angle. The 3 doors
lead to consulting rooms where the pets are examined.
The door on the far left is the nurses consulting
room. The Catherine Cookson Trust kindly paid the
building costs of it. You can just see a plaque
on the door acknowledging this.
A plaque acknowledging The
Boys contribution to the building costs of the Feline
Ward is on the wall between the two doors to the
left. It is the lower of the two plaques.
||This is the plaque
in more detail. The project has already given £1,500,
so the latest cheque brings the total to £2,500.
(For more details of the Catsup Project, click
Go into one of the consulting
rooms and this is what it's like (although I can't
guarantee you'll get greeted by the good looking
vet we found there!)
Geoff is one of 5 veterinary
surgeons working at the Newcastle Hospital.
||Moving away from
the public areas, we were taken round the large operating
theatre. This is where minor or routine operations
are carried out.
||This is the other
end of the same operating theatre. Margaret, who's
standing behind the table is one of the Newcastle
Hospital's veterinary nurses and their longest serving
member of staff. Marion in the middle of the picture
is the Senior Veterinary Nurse and was our guide throughout
the tour of the hospital. Joanne on the right was
at the hospital doing work experience.
||Leading off the
large theatre was a much smaller one. This is where
the more serious procedures are done.
||This is the inside
of the small theatre.
Opposite the smaller operating
theatre is the xray room. The table is especially
appreciated by the staff as it is fully adjustable
and they no longer have to lift heavy animals who
need an xray.
The Board on the right of
the picture lists all the surgical procedures scheduled
for the day. Those in blue were prebooked. Those
in red were emergencies that had cropped up as the
day went on (It was about 2.30pm when I took the
picture.) Some of the operations had not yet been
Near to the operating theatres
were the Canine and Feline wards. This is the Feline
Ward. (Unfortunately, the picture I took of the
Canine Ward was very blurred and the quality was
too poor to put it here. It was much bigger than
the Feline Ward, and the cage sizes varied, but
was otherwise similar to this picture.)
Both wards have special heating,
which can be adjusted, independently of the rest
of the Hospital.
I especially liked the comforting
touch of the heaps of blankets in both wards.
||The drugs store.
Marion told us that ordering the drugs and ensuring
there were sufficient stocks of them was her responsibility.
We saw other areas of the
hospital too, an isolation ward, a small laboratory,
a small office and the staff rest room where we
were given tea and coffee and had the chance to
have a chat. We were made so welcome, it would have
been easy to forget the main purpose of the visit!
Presenting the cheque.
From left to right:
Rob, PDSA's Trust
Ann in her Catsup "uniform"
Jen, also in "uniform"
Helen (who's responsible for the wonderful
and Computers illustrations)
Ann from Winlaton
Paul, PDSA's Area Fundraising Manager
The volunteers with Marion.
Our "uniform" is the one Jen and I wear
when we run one of the Catsup stalls.
As anyone who has
looked around the Catsup site is aware, although it's
very lighthearted, its purpose is to help to raise awareness
of, and funds for PDSA. Behind the scenes Ann has a lot
of friends whom Spock and Dracs have persuaded to give
their time and expertise to help make the Project successful.
Without their neighbour Paul, there would never have been
a website. Without friends like Nora, Ann from Winlaton
and Margaret, much of the stock for the stall and the
online shop would not be available. Without Jen's help,
it wouldn't be possible to run the Catsup Stall at local
cat shows. Ro, Helen, Den and Richard have all contributed
their artwork which has been used in numerous
ways. These are just some of the contributors.
To all of them and to the others I haven't mentioned,
out more about the Catsup Fundraising Project,
to Catsup's PDSA Page, click