League of Friends signs off with major donation after six decades of support

Chair of the League of Friends, Norman Tyrwhitt with West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust’s Chairman, Phil Townsend

The Watford Hospital’s League of Friends, which was set up in 1963, is bringing the shutters down on its on-site coffee shop next month and wrapping up business for good. Its catering facilities, which are the main source of the income, have been affected by COVID.

The main tea bar run by volunteers in the outpatient department has been closed since the outset of the pandemic and the space is now needed for clinical use. The smaller coffee shop near Vicarage Road remained open however footfall has been low due to there being fewer staff and visitors onsite.

The League’s parting donation will give a huge boost to a major capital appeal led by Raise, the hospital trust’s charity. The Interventional Radiology appeal aims to raise £625,000 to purchase a new scanner and equipment that will sit at the heart of a new Interventional Radiology Suite, transforming surgery for patients.

‘Whilst we are sad to say goodbye formally, we are pleased that our final donation helps Raise make such a strong start to its Interventional Radiology appeal. We have enjoyed our long relationship with Watford General, where we have seen many changes. Our donations have been many and varied and I feel sure that hundreds of thousands of patients will have benefitted from equipment we have funded over the years.’

Honorary Freeman of the Borough of Watford and Former Mayor, Norman Tyrwhitt, Chair of the League of Friends

‘The League of Friends is very much part of the hospital family and they will be missed, not just for their donations but for the friendly service when buying a coffee or snack. Over the years the League has got to know us and our services very well and their donations literally span from the cradle to the grave. Birthing chairs and neonatal equipment are among the items donated as well as funding to support our end of life care.

The League of Friends has been steadfast in its support and never more so than during the first traumatic wave of the pandemic. We needed more equipment in our simulation suite so more staff could receive critical care training. The League have a history of supporting this team and promptly responded to our call for help, so that more staff could do further skills training required for the pandemic. It meant that desperately ill patients had the very best care we could provide.

The League of Friends has helped us provide a level of care that is above and beyond what our NHS funds would stretch to and they will stay etched in our hearts and memories at Watford forever.’

West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust’s chief nurse, Tracey Carter MBE

Watch this short video highlighting some of the equipment funded by the League of Friends in recent years:

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