Nearly 60 years after HM Queen launched a buy a brick appeal to help complete Guildford Cathedral, Victoria Hamilton, who is playing Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother in the widely acclaimed Netflix production of The Crown, is pictured signing a brick to launch a similar appeal to help fund a world-class Urology Centre at The Royal Surrey County hospital in Guildford.
The Prostate Project, a Guildford based prostate cancer charity, has already raised £1.65m towards the build cost and have been asked by the Royal Surrey to increase their contribution to £2m. Over 200,000 Guildford residents paid 7/6d each for a brick in the 1950’s appeal which enabled the cathedral to be completed.
Victoria (stage name Hamilton) is the daughter of Tim Sharp, one of the founding trustees of the Prostate Project. He and his family have lived in the Guildford area for over 40 years. Victoria’s passion for the theatre was fired during her time as a student at Priors Field School in Godalming.
“The penny dropped whilst doing theatre studies. I was lucky enough to be put in a room with 3 actors from the National Theatre who encouraged us to get up and improvise some scenes from the play we were working on. I loved it, and at the end of the class one of the actors took me aside and said “You can do this you know”. 23 years later I wish I knew that actor’s name so I could say thank you”!
Prior’s Field Head, Mrs Tracy Kirnig said “We are delighted to welcome Victoria back to Prior’s Field and to be in connection with this very worthwhile project. Performing Arts are an important element in the school’s curriculum and Victoria’s visit will give great encouragement to our drama scholar students. Bricks are part of our everyday life here at the moment as we are in the middle of a 10 year development programme and have recently opened our own Centre for Science, Technology and Music.
Victoria’s credits include The Crown, Dr Foster, The Game, Larkrise to Candleford and leading roles at the RSC, The National and in the West End. She has also starred on Broadway with Eddie Izzard in ‘A Day in the Death of Joe Egg” and received an Evening Standard ‘Best Actress’ award for ‘Suddenly Last Summer’.
“I’m so thrilled to be able to help my Dad get over the line with funding for this fantastic project she said. Especially after the disappointment of the delay announced earlier this year. The Royal Surrey really needs this new Centre . It will make a huge difference to the lives of urology patients throughout the county and beyond; men, women and children with urological problems will benefit from the very best treatment available in a modern, world-class facility”.
The Royal Surrey County Hospital recently announced that the development of the new Centre was about to restart. The Project was put on hold earlier this year due to the Trust’s financial position. Work is scheduled to start next Spring for completion in September 2018.
Tim Sharp commented “There are approximately 12,000 bricks in the new Urology Centre. If we can match the generosity of Guilford residents in the 1950’s and sell them all at £10 each, we have the potential to raise nearly £150,00 assuming most donations will be gift aided”.
We are very grateful to Seymours Estate Agents in Godalming who have agreed to sponsor the appeal. Commenting on their involvement, Director Stewart Palmer said “We are delighted to be involved with the Prostate Project. As part of a successful Estate Agency Group with 17 Surrey offices, we are ideally placed to engage with our customers to support this great appeal. Bricks are our business after all!”
Thanks also to broadcaster Michael Buerk, Baroness Kate Parminter, Peter and Jackie Alliss and Deputy Chief Whip, Anne Milton MP, for their continued support.
The Prostate Project is a volunteer led charity with no offices or paid staff. Administration costs are below 4%.
Anyone wishing to buy a brick in the new Centre can do so on the Prostate Project website at www.prostate-project.org.uk, or by emailing Tim Sharp at: firstname.lastname@example.org or just call Tim on 07989 865702