Come join the Friends

RE: The Friends of Bideford Hospital.

‘The Friends’ was founded in 1948 as the Bideford Hospitals Comforts Fund and included Bideford Hospital, North Devon Isolation Hospital (which became the Kingsley Hospital, East-The-Water) and the Torridge Hospital in Meddon Street (which used to be the old ‘workhouse’).

At that time they provided such things as a Christmas dance and social for the staff of the hospitals and extras such as armchairs, pictures, etc.

The funds were mostly donated by local dignitaries and fundraising organisations.

Obviously many changes have taken place over the years, including a much smaller membership of ten “not so young ones”.

We are governed by the rules of the Charity Commissioners – so no free lunches – and we rely on the support we receive from Torridge residents.

We carry out our own fundraising and receive public donations from funerals and groups such as The Freemasons, Bideford Bridge Rotary and Bideford Victoria Park Bowling Club.

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However, our main source of funding comes from collections at local supermarkets.

Over recent years we have spent thousands of pounds raised by The Friends on items for the hospital, including X-ray equipment, bench seats, the drinks machine in Reception, and the refurbishment of the courtyard gardens.

The many and varied items in a long list of purchases help to make a visit to the hospital more pleasant.

Our other philosophy is to encourage consultants from North Devon District Hospital to hold out-patient clinics at Bideford Hospital so that local people do not have to travel to Barnstaple.

To that end we have purchased physiotherapy, reablement and diagnostic equipment for use in Bideford-based clinics.

At Christmas we purchase small gifts for those patients who will remain in hospital over the festive period and we also hold a carol service at the hospital.

The Friends’ plan for the future is hopefully to continue our work so that Bideford Hospital can remain a vital and ‘fit for purpose’ facility in our community, but this will be dependent on the number of new members we can attract.

We meet once a month, so if you can spare a couple of hours and would like to help with our fundraising, please contact Yvonne Taylor on 01271 372593.

The Friends of Bideford Hospital

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