Over £22,000 raised for town hospital during pandemic year

The Friends of North Walsham War Memorial Hospital committee.

The Friends of North Walsham War Memorial Hospital committee. - Credit: Friends of North Walsham War Memorial Hospital

A friends group raised over £22,000 last year to help their town's hospital during the pandemic.

The Friends of North Walsham War Memorial Hospital raised £22,044 in donations during 2020, including a £10,000 gift from former librarian Beryl Coston for equipment which the group is currently liasing with the health authority over.

During the year, the group spent £5,842 to provide garden improvements, goodies for staff in lockdown, and a mural to brighten up a brick wall painted by artist Sophie Cane.

Local artist Sophie Cane paints the mural on a wall at North Walsham Memorial Hospital.

Local artist Sophie Cane paints the mural on a wall at North Walsham Memorial Hospital. - Credit: Friends of North Walsham War Memorial Hospital

Some of the volunteers' routine events, such as Christmas carol singing and present-giving, were put on ice during lockdown, but patients still received gifts, and hard-working staff doing long shifts in full PPE were bought weekly goodie parcels of snacks and drinks to boost morale.

Chairman Keith Jarvis said: “Our thoughts have been with the staff working in difficult conditions and we hope our goodies helped keep their spirits high.

Friends chairman Keith Jarvis centre with volunteers Morag Neeld and Ian Lovick

Friends chairman Keith Jarvis centre with volunteers Morag Neeld and Ian Lovick. - Credit: Friends of North Walsham War Memorial Hospital


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“The hospital has played a major part in town life.

"People were born there, and family members and friends have been cared for there.

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"It holds a place in the community’s heart, but we would like more people who have an affinity with it to come forward and help the friends make improvements there for current patients, visitors and staff.”

With lockdown easing, the friends have bought wheelbarrows and compost to help volunteer gardeners smarten up the gardens near the patio.

They are also providing garden furniture and picnic benches where patients, visitors and staff can sit and enjoy the grounds.

The Friends’ work was outlined at an annual general meeting which covered two years due to the pandemic.

Plans for the future include an overnight stay room for visitors, improvements to Wild Flower Meadow, and to reuse a window and cross saved from a demolished hospital chapel as a feature in the grounds.

The Friends are also keen to increase their membership and find new committee members.

To find out more about the friends’ work and how to get involved visit: https://www.northwalshamhospitalfriends.org.uk

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