Hospital romance leads to bumper donation

3rd Feb 2024

A businessman has chosen to give back to the NHS Trust where he found love – by helping to fund outdoor equipment for staff and patients.

Chris Slezakowski, 61, from manufacturing firm Thomas Dudley Ltd, handed over a cheque for £2,500 to Your Trust Charity, the registered charity for Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust which runs City Hospital in Birmingham.

“I met my wife Dawn on a ward at City Hospital,” recalled Chris, who is the Business Unit Director at the Dudley-based firm. “I was recovering after having my wisdom teeth out, whilst she was visiting her dad. We kept looking over at each other making eye contact and then, a month later bumped into each other at a restaurant and the rest is history. We’re celebrating 40 years of marriage this year and have a son Thomas together.”

And as a result of this, City Hospital has always been close to Chris’s heart.

He said: “Thomas Dudley is generous in its support of charitable causes and the values of the business embrace strong support for the community. So when I was asked to nominate a charity to receive a donation it seemed obvious to me that the City Hospital connection was a great link, and I owe my married life to that chance encounter all those years ago,” he explained.

The Trust’s new state-of-the-art hospital – Midland Metropolitan University Hospital (MMUH) – in Smethwick, which opens later this year, also has a close link to Chris.

“At a previous business we designed and built more than 250 bathroom pods in our factory which were installed inside the new hospital,” he explained. “We are now working once again on site at MMUH so it’s only fitting that the funds are invested into enhancing the outdoor areas.

“I have fond memories of working on many large hospital projects across the UK, but MMUH is one of two which holds a special place in my heart because of the link to our personal lives. The scale and ambition of the new hospital is astonishing and I feel proud to have played a small part in delivering a spectacular example of the ambition and capability of the UK construction industry.”

Johnny Shah, Head of Your Trust Charity, added: “It is wonderful to hear Chris’s personal story, and we are so very grateful to the generosity of Thomas Dudley Ltd in supporting enhancements for acute services at our City Hospital site. This will help us fund added value activities benefitting our patients, people, and population. This includes early mobilisation chairs, staff outdoor spaces, and research studies into heart disease and cancer. With our acute services relocating to our new Midland Metropolitan University Hospital opening later this year, we are delighted that the name of Thomas Dudley Ltd will be within our Garden of Gratitude.”

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