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Can you help hospital's friends group research milestone meeting?

PUBLISHED: 11:25 04 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:34 04 April 2019

North Walsham War Memorial Hospital friends group members in the revamped day room. Picture: RICHARD BATSON

North Walsham War Memorial Hospital friends group members in the revamped day room. Picture: RICHARD BATSON

Archant

As the nation was recovering from the pain and carnage of the First World War 100 years ago, the idea for a new Norfolk hospital was born.

The opening of the North Walsham War Memorial Hospital in 1924. Picture: NORTH WALSHAM AND DISTRICT COMMUNITY ARCHIVEThe opening of the North Walsham War Memorial Hospital in 1924. Picture: NORTH WALSHAM AND DISTRICT COMMUNITY ARCHIVE

And now the friends group of North Walsham’s War Memorial Hospital has appealed for help in tracking down information about a historic gathering in 1919 which paved the way for the unit’s opening five years later.

The group is also using the 100th anniversary to recruit more members to carry on the tradition of community support for the much-loved hospital.

Keith Jarvis, friends group chairman, said the Yarmouth Road hospital has always had a strong community focus.

Mr Jarvis said: “Our hospital was born through public support, and we are proud to carry on the tradition.

“Even though the hospital is run by a health trust, the extras we provide make a difference to the lives of patients, families, friends and staff.

“We are looking for new members to support our efforts – and have some fun and friendship along the way.

“And we hope there may be people out there who can help with our detective work in tracing more details of the public meeting that started it all.”

The 1919 meeting was held to seek community backing and funds for a cottage hospital to care for the community’s sick and to remember the local soldiers who gave their lives in the war.

Records of the meeting are scarce and the friends group wants to hear from anyone with local history or family archives which could shed more light on what happened.

The foundation stone for the original hospital was laid on September 18, 1919, and the building was opened in August 1924 by Princess Marie Louise.

Today’s hospital, opened in 2012 after the original was demolished, is run by the Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust.

Thanks to continuing public donations the friends group pays for improvements and extras beyond the basic ‘health service’ budgets – from a £22,000 revamp of the day room to Christmas gifts for patients.

To find out more about the friends and to make contact visit www.northwalshamhospitalfriends.org.uk.

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