Thanksgiving Service Celebrating 75 years of the League of Friends

MORRISTON HOSPITAL LEAGUE OF FRIENDS

Thank you for attending this afternoon to celebrate 75 years of Morriston Hospital League of Friends

The origin of the League dates back to 1943 when a committee was set up to provide film shows and concerts for wounded servicemen. It was the first League of Friends to be founded in the country. The first contribution was from the Darts League in providing wireless headphones to each bed at the hospital. The Friends purchased a cinematograph projector and twice weekly gave film shows for bed patients. They organised quizzes for the patients in which local sportsmen and personalities took part.

We began giving a Christmas gift for each patient and member of staff in 1953 and have continued doing so for 65 years.

To mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953 the Friends provided patients with television sets to enable them to watch the pageantry of the Coronation procession and ceremony at Westminster Abbey. To commemorate the Coronation the League constructed the outpatients and visitors garden which is situated in front of Ty Olwen.

The Friends provided alcoves in the corridors as a comfortable rest area for hospital visitors and relatives of wounded soldiers.

One of our most magnificent gifts was the original Chapel which commemorated the twenty first anniversary of the founding of the hospital. The Chapel and its organ cost nearly £10,000 and the building including the cost of furnishings was £8000. The Chapel was opened in 1964.

The first hospital Chapel Organist was Megan Evans and she continued to play the organ for 25 years. Following her death Phil George took over as Chapel Organist and he continued for 26 years. Phil donated the Organ you see here today.

The overnight bungalow accommodation which cost £9000 was officially opened in 1976. The idea for an accommodation unit at the hospital for the relatives of seriously ill patient was conceived when the Friends saw visitors sleeping in the alcoves on bedding supplied by the hospital. This accommodation was demolished in 2010 and the Friends took over 2 Flats in Clos George Morgan which can accommodate 7 people. The new accommodation is used in a similar way to the old bungalow. It will be used by relatives of seriously ill patients thus enabling them to be near to their family whilst receiving treatment. We have had relatives staying in the accommodation from as far away as Poland and Sweden. We have helped well over 20,000 relatives.

This accommodation is in constant use and is greatly appreciate by the relatives. We do not charge for its use.

In 1977 we raised funds for the installation of a spina bifida unit and hydrotherapy pool at a cost of £7500.

We organised Carnivals for 34 years – Morriston being the largest Carnival in Wales. I remember one year the first float arriving at the hospital field when the last float was leaving Morriston a total of 51 floats in all. People watched the Parade in their thousands.

A list of the equipment we have provided to this hospital is far too extensive to read out today but the most expensive gift in 1983 was an ultrasonic scalpel for the Neurology Department at a cost of

£95,000. for which we raised £33.000. an awful lot of money in those days.

To sum up a quote from the late Miss M M Williams Matron of the Hospital paid the following tribute to the Friends at a Nurses Prizegiving Service = “The Friends have become part of the hospital I do not know what we would have done without them. They put themselves out tremendously to help us and they have provided facilities which although common place in the newer hospitals we would never have had without their support. They are greatly appreciated by the patients and staff and moreover they get on with their self appointed tasks unobtrusively and never expect to be praised. Thankfully the Morriston Hospital League of Friends continues its good work”

Since the commencement of the League a sum of £2,200,000 has been raised and used to purchase vital equipment for various departments within the hospital.

Today the League continues to raise funds through an annual Golf Tournament and the receipt of kind donations. The League also provide a service to the patients enabling them to attend the Sunday Chapel Services by transporting them by wheelchair, bed or assisted walking.

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