At our meeting on Thursday 10th November 2016 at the Rathbone Pavilion, Judy Anderson, the Legacy Development Manager for the Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity, shared with us the history and life-saving breakthroughs of this world famous children’s hospital. Dr Charles West was the principal founder of the ‘Hospital for Sick Children’. Dr West was an expert on diseases of women and children. For decades before this, London’s population had grown vastly but hospital provision had not. ‘Trained in medicine at Paris and Bonn, in countries where provision for children’s health was more advanced than in Britain, and where hospitals exclusively for children had long been in existence, Dr West was determined to set up England’s first in-patient hospital for children.’ Charles and fellow doctor, Henry Bence-Jones, formed a committee in 1850 with support from eminent philanthropists and public health reformers. The hospital opened in 1852 in a converted 17th Century house in Great Ormond Street with 10 beds and was funded entirely by charitable donations. Charles Dickens helped the hospital by using his fame and influence. Six weeks after the opening he published an article to help gain financial support for the hospital which stated that 1 in 3 coffins in London were made for little children. Queen Victoria became the first royal patron donating £100. This gave the hospital respectability and other donations followed. In the first year the number of hospital beds increased to thirty. Later on, through a legacy gift the hospital could afford to buy the house next door and so began the expansion programme.
In the 1930s women could work there as permanent staff. Miss Catherine Jane Wood trained nurses and made sure they had pensions. Now Great Ormond Street Hospital, also known as GOSH, is a fabulous ‘state of the art’ hospital and viewed as ‘the best in the world’. It always needs to keep up with the latest techniques, equipment, research, facilities and new diseases. Some firsts to take place at the hospital are: 1961 - the first unit built for leukaemia research; 1962 – the first heart/lung by-pass machine; 1980 – the first bone marrow transplant on a 4 month old baby, Andrew Williams; 1988 – the first transplant of the heart on a child. The WI raised the profile of the organ donor list. Dr Mildred Creak, the first female consultant in Child Psychiatry there, impacted the way the whole hospital works. Through her the aim was to look after the whole family and the whole child. She pushed for extended visiting hours, and now there are no restrictions. The Wishing Well appeal led by Princess Diana raised 54 million pounds towards the redevelopment of GOSH which took place between 1987- 1994, when the Chapel of St. Christopher had to be relocated.
The current 2nd redevelopment for new wards, more operating theatre capacity, and new bedrooms started in 2004 and will be completed in 2025. Judy showed us a video of the progress so far. Twenty million pounds is still needed. There were many amazing stories of children who had been helped to recover and lead normal lives. Judy stressed the value of fundraising, particularly through legacy gifts in wills. There are Legacy Open Days with guided tours of the hospital. Ann thanked Judy for her marvellous presentation and for the beautiful book she has given us about the hospital. Did you watch the BBC programme, ‘DIY SOS Great Ormond Street Hospital’? The team rebuilt an award-winning garden on the roof of the hospital for the enjoyment and well-being of the children and their parents, visitors and staff. It was brilliant!
Sad News: NWWI wish to express deep sympathy to Leslie Allard and family on the sad loss of her husband and their father, Barry Allard.
Thursday 8th December 2016 – Christmas Meeting - Home entertainment with a quiz, lots of chatter, mince pies and mulled wine. If you have a poem or story to share please bring it along.
Thursday 12th January 2017 – Paula Vallance talks about ‘The Trussell Trust, Basingstoke Food Bank’. For many people in the UK this support is a life-line.
Thursday 9th February 2017 – Salina Mills is a carving artist and will demonstrate how to carve vegetables, fruit and soap!
Why not come along as a guest, a potential new member, or as someone who is interested in listening to a particular speaker? You will always get a cheery welcome from this fun-loving group! If anyone would like to come along or would like more details please contact Carolyn Brown.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!