Pupils supported a specialist hospital ward so well that it was named after their school.

The Cherwell School spina bifida unit cared for numerous young patients at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford.

It opened in 1969 and pupils paid £200 to buy equipment for it after a sponsored 13-mile walk.

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Reshan Lal Calyan, 17, who raised the most, more than £40, officially declared the ward open.

Other contributors present included youth club members from St Michael and All Angels Church, Summertown, and five children from Blackbird Leys, who had held a sale in their road.

Their money was used to buy a partition to divide the unit from the rest of the ward, an incubator and oxygen supplies.

They were all thanked by Mr R A Lawson, the hospital’s house governor, and Dr David Hide, who looked after children with spina bifida.

Pupils at The Cherwell School in Marston Ferry Road in North Oxford continued to support the unit.

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In 1974, they handed over a closed-circuit television set and camera to enable the ward sister to see at a glance if any of the children needed attention.

They had raised £315 taking part in a marathon trampoline ‘bounce-in’ and paying a surcharge on items bought at the school tuck shop.

Headmaster Eric Baldwin described the fundraising as a “total school effort”, with pupils, teachers, parents, governors and friends all making generous contributions.

The closed-circuit equipment was received by consultant surgeon Malcolm Gough, who invited pupils to visit the unit.

He also invited a small group of pupils to watch an operation. The Radcliffe Infirmary opened in 1770 and closing in 2006.

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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. 

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