In 1994 the Eye Unit moved from Bedford Place to a newly built facility at Southampton General Hospital. A group of Consultant Ophthalmologists, headed by Professor Andrew Elkington, launched a charity to raise £1m in order to equip a research area in the Hospital. The charity was named ‘Gift of Sight’ and fundraising was a huge success due, in no small part, to the generosity of the Consultant Ophthalmologists who started the project with huge personal donations. This income was used to fund Dr Parul Desai in the role of ophthalmic epidemiologist until her departure from Southampton Eye Unit. Professor Andrew Lotery was appointed Professor of Ophthalmology in Southampton in 2002 and his salary was provided by Gift of Sight for a period of three years.
This input propelled his desire to reinstate Gift of Sight as a fundraising vehicle to support research costs and salaries for new PhD students and researchers.
Gift of Sight, as we now know it, was re-launched in 2004 with a new logo and run under the banner of ‘Hope’ – now Wessex Medical Trust. The Appeal was then moved under the auspices of the University of Southampton who provide space for the research team and office space and support for the fundraiser. The logo was changed to our current green ‘eye’ and our Appeal is funding research into eye disease and providing medical benefits to patients in the Southampton area due to our participation in clinical trials.
Gift of Sight funds have supported research in many ways and generous philanthropic gifts, including Legacies and Direct Debits, have enabled a growth in the number of staff employed in vision science research.
Professor Lotery actively pursues fundraising by participating in various events and is very grateful to all donors and supporters, both past and present, for the generous gifts of time, enthusiasm and financial support.
To view photographs of some of our recent fundraising events please see our 'Fundraising Gallery Page'
Details of forthcoming events are listed on our 'News and Events' page.