RHN holds annual Festival Week and Founders Day Celebrations

RHN holds annual Festival Week and Founders Day Celebrations

On the week commencing 12 June, the RHN (Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability) held its annual Festival Week and Founders Day celebrations, which included a number of staff engagement activities as well as performances for patients, residents and their family members to enjoy.

RHN celebrates Festival Week on the week Founder’s Day falls in, which commemorates the day the hospital was founded by Reverend Andrew Reed in 1854.

Reverend Andrew Reed, one of the 19th century’s great philanthropists, saw a need ‘to give permanent relief to such persons as are hopelessly disqualified for the duties of life, by disease, accident or deformity’. He originally established the RHN as ‘The Hospital for Incurables’ in Carshalton, Surrey, before relocating the hospital to the larger premises of Putney House following increased demand.

Five years later, and one year after Andrew Reed’s death in 1862, the hospital found its permanent home – Melrose Hall on West Hill, Putney.


The week’s celebrations kicked off with the Staff Engagement and Wellness Roadshow. This provided a number of stands that outlined the various staff well-being support that is available at the RHN, including Mental Health First aiders, Racial Equalities Network, Pride@RHN and many more, including a free smoothie and juice bar for staff to enjoy.

From 8 pm – 12 am, the Staff Engagement and Wellness Roadshow was also available to the night staff with a range of exciting, interactive and engaging well-being stands and activities.

Staff were also able to book various activities including yoga sessions, dog therapy, Zen sessions in an American-style school bus, wellness checks and massages. These were available for staff for the whole day and were thoroughly enjoyed by all in attendance.

The afternoon portion of the first day included ‘The Exec Challenge’, where staff could come along to chat with RHN Executives over a variety of games such as table tennis and jenga, closely followed by the ‘RHNFest Bake Off’.

In light of the King’s Coronation, this year’s theme was ‘Royalty’. Staff had the opportunity to bake their tastiest cakes which would then be judged by Execs Paul Allen and Frances Lowe (a batch made in Heaven!).

RHN Clinical Fellow Adele Tomlinson was crowned the winner with her ‘Queen of Nature, Queen of Pop’ honey cake and received the RHNFest 2023 Bake Off trophy.

All those in attendance also got to enjoy the cakes, making for a sweet close to the first day.


Day two began with a Memorial Service in remembrance of the patients and residents who have passed away in the last year. All were welcome to attend, including staff and family members, to pay tribute to those we have lost. It was a touching service with candles lit for those who have passed both in the RHN community, and also in staff’s personal lives outside of the RHN.

In the afternoon, the Physiotherapy Team set up a sports session. It was open to all who either wanted to join in or watch from the marquee. The games included dodgeball, races, a tug-of-war battle and a wet sponge fight to fight off the heat.


Wednesday 14 June officially marked Founders Day, and was packed with fun activities and events for staff, patients, residents, and their families to enjoy.

Such a big day required some energy, so the day started with the Pathway to Excellence breakfast, a free breakfast for staff as they joined Director of Nursing, Della Warren and the rest of the Pathway team to find out more about our Journey to the Pathway to Excellence with a brew and a bite to eat.

The official Founders Day celebrations kicked off in the afternoon, with live music from Big Mamma Funk and the RHN Choir, a CODA dance group session and a performance from Paul Allen, CEO and Salma Munir (which received an encore!).

In the evening all staff were invited to join the ‘Pub’ quiz. Eight teams battled it out in two picture rounds and one general knowledge round, with RHN Finance Assistant, Adrian Noble, stepping up to the role of quiz master for the second year running.


Wednesday was a day packed with activities and amazing performances, but there was still plenty more to come.

The fourth and final day of festival week included an Art Therapy workshop, named ‘Tote Bag Thursday’, for staff, patients and residents to join and design and decorate their own tote bags.

COMPASS (our Assistive & Rehabilitation Technology Service), held an open session for all at the RHN, with lots of Wii games for staff to play and challenge each other to.

Next came the annual rounders match between Team Nanda (Director of Finance) and Team Jane (Director of Fundraising and Communications). Plenty of patients and residents lined the pathway, along with staff, to watch the game take place, with Lesley Mill (Director of Service Delivery) stepping up as the umpire.

An intense game under the midday sun saw Team Nanda emerge victorious, beating Team Jane by 5 points.


After a busy week, it was time for staff to let their hair down at the staff party and BBQ. The party was attended by ‘Bandeoke’, which meant staff could choose from a list of songs and live their popstar dreams as they performed live with a professional band karaoke style. The evening was filled with singing, dancing and food, marking the end of another amazing Festival Week at the RHN.

We can’t wait to do it all again next year!