North Walsham Hospital group is saved as new volunteers step forward to help

The new-look hospital Friends committee at North Walsham. Picture: Richard Batson

The new-look hospital Friends committee at North Walsham. Picture: Richard Batson - Credit: Richard Batson

The question mark which hung over a vital link between North Walsham's hospital and it's community has now been cleared.

New chairman Keith Jarvis (centre) presents thank you gifts to Brian Elliott (right) and Brian Black

New chairman Keith Jarvis (centre) presents thank you gifts to Brian Elliott (right) and Brian Blackburn (left). Picture: Richard Batson - Credit: Richard Batson

The North Walsham War Memorial Hospital League of Friends has been saved thanks to new volunteers coming forwards to run the group.

Long-serving duo Brian Elliott and Brian Blackburn said the group could fold unless new blood came along to run it.

But a new chairman, secretary and treasurer have stepped forward and are urging the public to continue their support for the League of Friends.

Incoming chairman Keith Jarvis, from Trunch, worked in the estates section of the health service for 29 years, including dealing with North Walsham before retirement.


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He is also a governor at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, and chairman of North Walsham Rugby club.

He said: 'The two Brians have done a brilliant job, but the friends are in good hands and will continue to be a link between the community and the hospital.'

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New secretary is Angela Batson, admissions assistant at Gresham's School, and treasurer is Carol Willgress, a former catering equipment company office manager - both from Southrepps.

Mr Elliott, who has been chairman for the past 36 years, said it was the end of an era for him and Mr Blackburn, who had served for 31.

'I have been proud of what we have achieved, from providing equipment to helping save the hospital from closure threats - but we could not have done it without the support of the public.'

Mr Blackburn said that over his 31 years the Friends had spent £714,328 on equipment for patients and staff as well as the new Dewing Suite training centre, but remarkably had never had to seek fund raising. It had all come from public donations, legacies and money in lieu of flowers at funerals.

At the annual meeting on Friday, September 15, which approved the new officers, Friends member Margaret Johnson praised the expertise, tenacity and commitment of the two Brians – who she called the 'dynamic duo'.

People can support the friends by making donations and through legacies.

Contact Mr Jarvis at k.jarvis155@btintenet.com or 07788 889853.

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