Rugby Theatre stalwart gives to hospital appeal

Member of Rugby Theatre and Friends of St Cross volunteer, Anthony Newman, has donated to the Diamond Appeal after doctors saved his eye sight. Photo by Edward White.
Member of Rugby Theatre and Friends of St Cross volunteer, Anthony Newman, has donated to the Diamond Appeal after doctors saved his eye sight. Photo by Edward White.

A member of Rugby Theatre has contributed to the Friends of St Cross Diamond Jubilee Appeal after doctors saved his eyesight 35 years ago.

Anthony Newman, from Rugby, nearly lost his vision when his left retina became detached in 1979.

Mr Newman, who has directed and starred in many shows throughout his career on the stage, said he wanted to give something back to the health service and encourage others to get involved.

He added: “I made a donation to the appeal because I owe a very large debt of gratitude to the NHS.

“In 1979 the wonderful consultants at the Paybody Hospital in Coventry saved my sight.

“My left retina had detached and my right one was starting to do the same.

“Thanks to the prompt expert treatment and their continued care over the years, I can still see.

“If other people who have benefited from excellent treatment gave something, no matter how small, then the new purpose built blood taking unit will start to benefit thousands of local people.”

Mr Newman added: “I started volunteering with the Friends in 1994 and I was part of the first help desk team.

“I absolutely love being part of the charity.”

Mr Newman, 86, had to stop performing in the 80s as his eyes were affected by the bright stage lights.

He said: “It’s sad when you have to stop doing something you love but nothing lasts forever, you’ve got to get on and do something else.

“The Diamond Jubilee Appeal is fantastic and will make a huge difference to the hospital and the community.”

The blood-taking team at St Cross has come up with an unusual way to raise funds for the Friends Diamond Jubilee Appeal.

Visitors are being asked to fill the ‘pee pots’ with 5p coins and pour them into the collecting cylinders in the department or in the out-patients section next time they visit the hospital.

The team has offered to run stalls at any fetes that are happening soon, including a second hand book stall, face painting, a cake stall, hook a duck, a tombola, a craft stall, a curry stall and name the cuddly toy.

The team would also like to arrange a dog show and is looking for a suitable venue to hold it.

Michelle Giles, senior phlebotomist from the Coventry and Warwickshire Pathology Service, who is based at St Cross, said: “The entire team is delighted and feels privileged that the Friends of St Cross has chosen to celebrate its Diamond Jubilee by launching a £60,000 fundraising initiative to provide a new purpose built blood taking clinic for the Hospital of St Cross site in Rugby.

“We are confident that this will significantly improve the patient experience in the clinic and would like to take this opportunity to thank the Friends for thinking of us and our patients in their 60th year of fundraising.”

It’s so easy to Be A Diamond

The Friends of St Cross hope to raise £60,000 in this, their diamond jubilee year, to help pay for improvements to the hospital’s blood-taking service – the busiest at the Barby Road site

Visit to donate, email to find out how to get involved or call (01788) 663754 for more information

The Advertiser is backing the appeal all the way, so tell us what you’re doing to support the friends by emailing