Jason Bradbury, Katie Pinnock (GSK) and Rebecca McLoughlin

THE PLUTO APPEAL smashes through fundraising halfway mark, thanks to a corporate donation of £500,000 from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

The £1.5 million appeal is to buy a surgical robot named Pluto which will allow surgeons at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital to perform intricate surgery on babies and children with more precision, quicker recovery times, shorter hospital stays and smaller scars.

Pluto will be the first robot dedicated to paediatric surgery in the South of England and only the second for use by paediatric surgeons in the whole country.

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital is a pioneer in the field of keyhole surgery for children and the lead centre for specialist children’s and neonatal surgery in North West London. Pluto will enhance this skill set and equip the surgeons with a level of precision far beyond that possible with traditional surgical methods and with the most advanced technology available in the world.

Thanks to GSK the total amount raised is £880,000 meaning the appeal has passed the halfway mark since it launched in June 2011.

The appeal is centered around www.theplutoappeal.com,, a website based on The Million Dollar Homepage, created by student Alex Tew in 2006, when he divided a homepage into a million pixels and sold them to advertisers. Pluto has been divided in the same way: each pixel costs £1 and, as more pixels are bought, Pluto will begin to come to life in colour.

Katie Pinnock, Director of UK Corporate Contributions for GSK said: “This robot will ensure that more children have access to the very latest technology which will mean they will recover faster from operations and be less likely to develop complications due to infection. The staff at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital continue to pioneer advances in paediatric care and GSK is delighted to support them.”

Mr Munther Haddad, Service Director of Paediatric Surgery at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and Chair of The Children’s Hospital Trust Fund said: "We are thrilled to receive this donation from GSK. It is a huge endorsement of the importance of The Pluto Appeal to receive such incredible support from a company as well-respected as GSK.

Their support also demonstrates their recognition of the importance of having a robotic operating facility for children and babies at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital."

Jason Bradbury, (The Gadget Show), patron for The Pluto Appeal said: “Helping to buy Pluto the Robot is the most important project I’ve ever been involved with and so I’m thrilled that it’s been given such a huge boost by GSK.”