A Warm Welcome from the Friends’ Chairman

A busy year for the Friends

The past twelve months have been very busy and extremely fulfilling for the Friends.

Janet Louth, Friends Chairman

Janet Louth, Friends Chairman

This time last year the Friends had just given their support for the newly announced “Prospect at Savernake” appeal, with our matched funding pledge of £20,000. Last week, the Friends were delighted to be given a tour by Prospect Hospice of their new outpatient unit at Savernake Hospital, which is due to open in a matter of days.

The outpatient unit comprises various consultation, examination and complementary therapy rooms, all tastefully decorated with lots of natural light.  It is an asset to Marlborough to have such end of life care facilities and support for carers so much closer to home.

The Friends’ support of this appeal, with the backing of local individuals, businesses and schools, was instrumental in enabling Prospect Hospice to well exceed its appeal target of £75,000 – as stated by their Director of Income Generation, Richard Hammond, at the Friends’ 2015 AGM.

More recently the Friends gave their support to Brighter Futures towards its £2.9million radiotherapy appeal, with a donation of £10,000.  Funds raised by Brighter Futures will allow for the purchase of linear accelerators for the new Swindon-based radiotherapy centre, which is hoped to be up and running by April 2017.  Again this will be of benefit to cancer patients in and around Marlborough who currently have an arduous journey to and from Oxford for cancer treatment.

Within Savernake Hospital the Friends have provided a variety of grants over the past year.  In the summer, Ailesbury Ward took delivery of a number of new desk and floor fans, which were a welcome arrival at the beginning of an unseasonably hot summer spell.  As with many hospitals, temperatures at Savernake Hospital can be hard to regulate on very hot days.  The Friends continue to seek a long term solution with building management.  The Friends also provided a grant to Ailesbury Ward to purchase various items to assist and stimulate patients with varying degrees of dementia.  This included “dementia-friendly” date and time clocks which help allay the anxiety of losing track of days and time, as well as era-specific scrap books, CDs and DVDs.  The Friends have also funded the purchase of a new flat screen television, DVD player and a fleet of six new wheelchairs for Ailesbury Ward.

Elsewhere in the hospital, the Community Nurses have purchased a portable ECG machine with a Friends’ grant of £2000.  This has allowed the Community Nurses to expand the services which they provide to housebound patients, as it enables the Community Nurses to carry out (at the request of a GP) ECG tests on patients in their homes, with data relayed back to the GP, and therefore avoids the need for unwell patients to attend their local surgery or outpatient centre to have such tests.

Background to Savernake Hospital – present and past

Savernake Hospital offers a wide variety of clinics and outpatient services, as well as the 34-bed Ailesbury Unit, and Cotswold House, the eating disorders unit.  There is also the café with its little patio garden and the Friends’ shop next door in the Reception area.   Shortly the Prospect Hospice outpatient centre will also open.

Savernake Hospital opened in 1866 and, like all cottage hospitals which continue to exist, has evolved greatly over the years.

The Friends have become enthusiastic collectors of fragments of history relating to the hospital’s past.  We feel it is important to keep a record of the hospital’s history and those that have been connected with it, so that others can understand why the Friends continue to support it so passionately.

We now have a dedicated history page on our website relating to the hospital’s history, including some fascinating accounts, insights and anecdotes from both former patients and staff.  Special thanks go to former committee member, Val Compton, for her continuing work on this history project.

Background to the Friends

The “Friends of Savernake Hospital and the Community” charity was set up in 1958 (then under the name of “The League of Friends of the Marlborough Hospitals”) by a group of public-spirited citizens to provide financial support to Savernake Hospital and the Children’s Hospital.  Now only Savernake Hospital remains, but the work of the Friends has continued.

In fact, with the reduction of centrally-provided local healthcare in recent years, we have seen a broadening of the role of the Friends.  We now provide grants in the wider community in Marlborough and the surrounding areas – to bodies associated with healthcare, such as Hope For Tomorrow’s mobile chemotherapy unit, and have provided defibrillators in and around Marlborough and defibrillator information days open to all.  On top of this we continue to provide support for our hospital, including the hospital shop run by a super team of dedicated volunteers and our Shop Coordinator, who also involve themselves in running various fundraising events.

If you visit our “Grants” page on this website, you can see the full support we have given to various healthcare related bodies over recent years, as well as apply online for a healthcare-related grant.

Donations and bequests

We pride ourselves on our ability to transform a bequest, however small, directly into a healthcare-related benefit.

It is heart-warming how many members of the community have fond memories of Savernake Hospital and have become life members of the Friends, and indeed made generous donations or bequests to the Friends.

It is these that have enabled us to embark on a wide range of projects specifically aimed at bringing medical treatment into the community and saving patients from making costly and time consuming trips to hospital, precisely at a time when they wish to be closer to home.

Thank you

On behalf of the Friends’ committee I would like to say thank you to the community for your loyal support over the past 57 years.  Long may this partnership continue.


Janet Louth
Chairman, Friends of Savernake Hospital and the Community

October 2015


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