The John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford was given a lift – and patients, staff and supporters were there to celebrate.

After a five-year struggle to raise funds, the appeal for a much-needed fifth lift at the Headington hospital reached a triumphant conclusion in 1986.

When the hospital was built, plans for a fifth lift were scrapped because of financial problems, although the lift shaft was included.

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A total of £29,000 was raised by the appeal which was launched in 1981, the International Year of the Disabled.

Declaring the lift open, Caroline Miles, who chaired the Oxfordshire Health Authority, said: “The lift was desperately needed, but better late than never. I thank everyone for their wonderful efforts.”

It was a special day for Joan Oldfield, publicity officer for the lift appeal.

She said: “I’m absolutely thrilled. During the appeal, there were times that the whole thing flagged, but I always believed we would get there.”

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The appeal, to which visitors to the hospital were invited to donate 50p, attracted support from actor Larry Hagman, who starred as ruthless oil baron J R Ewing in the popular TV show, Dallas. He sent a signed script to be auctioned.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher donated £10 and the Air Training Corps squadron at RAF Abingdon raised £209 with a 15-mile sponsored walk.

Oxford Children’s Hospital opened in 2007, as part of the hospital’s new West Wing.

The Queen visited the following year to officially open the new West Wing and children’s hospital.

The children’s hospital was part-funded by the public, following a fundraising drive led by the Oxford Mail.

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

You can also read his weekly Traffic and Transport newsletter.