Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine receives £10,000 donation in memory of tandem couple

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine (BCRM) at Southmead Hospital has received a donation of more than £10,000 in memory of a couple who were killed while cycling on their tandem in Hanham.

Ross and Clare Simons had just started fertility treatment before their lives were cut short and family and friends were determined to raise money for the centre in their name.

The latest donation brings fundraising in memory of the couple to more than £14,000.

Their fundraising will contribute to two new incubators at the centre which are a special environment for embryos to grow.

Family and friends of Ross and Clare Simons hand over more than £10,000 to the Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine at Southmead Hospital in memory of the couple

Money was raised through an event at Hanham Folk Centre organised by sisters Bex Fey and Nikki Wilcox who grew up in the house next door to Ross, a cake sale organised by the couple’s nephew Callum Woodruff and other efforts by family and friends and the local community.

Nikki and Bex, who knew both Ross and Clare, raised £6,000 through their fundraiser which included a magician, singer, raffle and auction.

Friends and family attended the event which Nikki said the couple "would have absolutely loved".

She said: "It feels absolutely amazing to have raised so much money. It is going to be life-changing for so many people."

Bex also raised money in memory of the couple by purchasing charity trolley coins as favours for her wedding.

Ross' sister Kelly Woodruff said the decision to raise money for BCRM was made almost immediately after the couple's death when people asked if they could give donations rather than flowers at their funeral.

“We said straight away, let’s give them to the IVF centre, it was an instant decision from both families,” Kelly said.

"They were so excited about starting treatment, they had been waiting so long to get the chance.”

After handing over the latest donation of £10,885, Kelly was shown the incubators used in the BCRM laboratories to grow embryos.

She said: “To think that we are helping hundreds of couples maybe become families is so important to us. That was our hope for Ross and Clare, that they would become a family. If this could do that for hundreds of couples Ross and Clare would be thrilled.

“To be able to help give that gift to people who really want to become parents is just fantastic.”

BCRM lead consultant Valentine Akande said: “Even though this donation has come out of tragic circumstances, Ross and Clare’s family and friends are helping us to help lots of other people and will bring new life to other couples.

“As a team we thought very hard as to how we could use this money to help the most people and we unanimously agreed to purchase these incubators because they will help lots of couples for many years and will give them the best chance of success.

“We cannot thank Kelly and the rest of Ross and Clare’s family and friends enough. Their donation will make a huge contribution to what we do at the Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine.”