The League of Friends of the City Hospital was formed in May 1954. The committee consisted mainly of consultants’ wives but gradually it changed to a mix of ex-nursing staff and people from all other walks of life – as it still does today.
The first major projects undertaken were to provide kitchen equipment for the training of disabled patients in the Occupational Therapy Unit, and the erection of a schoolroom for younger patients spending long periods in hospital. Over the years, money has been raised to install telephones accessible by every ward, and TVs for every day room. Large contributions have been made available for the building of the first leisure centre for staff, as well as substantial donations to the building of Hayward House and, more recently, £50,000 for the library at the Maggie’s Centre.
Over six decades, there have been many diverse ways in which funds have been raised – in the early 1970s, so many patients drank Lucozade that the committee set up a rota to collect the empty bottles from the wards and return them to a supplier for a refund on every bottle.
During the changeover from imperial to decimalisation, jars were placed around the hospital to collect old half-pennies. We now have collecting tins in all coffee shops.