Looking back on a successful year – chair’s report for 2012 (posted Jan 2013)

It doesn’t seem possible that another year has flown by; it has been a busy year for the League of Friends, and a year with ups and some downs. One of the lows was the death of Jane Leighton in July. Jane was the Chair of Halesworth Health and an amazing lady. Without Jane’s dedication, expertise and enthusiasm the HH project would not be in the position it is today, she worked incredibly hard and dedicated hours of her time to the project. Jane was a terrific support to me after being elected as Chair, and was always there to support, guide and to listen. She was also a regular at our LoF events and socials and she is greatly missed by so many. Sadly, we also lost Les Hills during the year. Les was a long serving member of the league and an ex-chair, who, despite be a full time carer to his wife still made the effort to regularly attend full meetings and events whenever possible.

Many donations and bequests have been received throughout the year from families in memory of loved ones, and in appreciation of the care received from staff at the hospital and the RGRC. Local businesses and organisations have continued to support our activities in many different ways. Once again members have had a busy calendar of events, which have always been well supported by the local community. The continued support and contribution of the local people is very much appreciated and is vital to the success of the League.

The League continues to work with Halesworth Health and is currently the sole financial contributor to the group. Halesworth Health required core professional support to develop the plans to safeguard and develop health care services for Halesworth and the surrounding villages. Members of the League of Friends recognised the importance of this work for the future security of the hospital and its invaluable services, and agreed to fund £35,000 for the first phase of the project development. The League’s decision to provide significant support for Halesworth Health came after HealthEast, the new clinical commissioning group that will take over from NHS Norfolk and Waveney in 2013, met Halesworth Health in January 2012. HealthEast agreed to take a fresh look at Halesworth’s situation and agreed a timetable for HH to produce the business case for current and future services on the Patrick Stead/Cutlers Hill Site. NHS N & W also supported HH’s proposals for a ‘local solution’. Professional healthcare consultants Sustainable Communities Partnership were retained to produce the Strategic Outline Case. The SOC has been completed and has support from the Boards of HE and NHS N & W. In July the League agreed further funds of £25,000 to produce an Outline Business Case, with a Full Business Case to follow. HH are working with the Campus Project Group to link health and care with housing, sports facilities and other services planned for Halesworth on the adjacent land.

We were delighted to receive a donation from Spexhall Huntsman & Hounds Football Club from their Auction of Promises held at the Golf Club in November. It was an enjoyable evening with many bargains to be bid for. Thanks go to the football club for their continued support.

Members this year decided to organise a Christmas event. On the last Saturday of November, we held a Christmas Fair in St Mary’s Church Hall. The fair included the usual favourites: raffle, tombola, bric-a-brac, promotional goods and cake stall as well as different craft stalls. Visitors were able to enjoy delicious refreshments, tea and coffee and homemade sausage rolls, cakes and mince pies. The event was extremely well supported and was a financial success!

January saw the launch of our new website. The League of Friends worked in partnership with Halesworth Health, Halesworth Community Nursing Care Fund and First Responders to create a joint website with Josh Buiz. Thanks go to our website sub-committee for all their hard work. All the hard work paid off as the finished website is excellent. It is informative, easy to navigate and readers can learn about the history of LoF and the hospital, what we do, our events/meetings, how to become more involved and how to contact us. Our website is www.halesworthhealth.org.

We were kindly invited by Mr & Mrs Witherby to once again join them at Rydal Mount, Wissett on Easter Sunday for Daffodil Day. The weather conditions were rather cooler than the previous year, but many visitors turned out to support the event and enjoyed the beautiful daffodils. Thank you to Mr & Mrs Witherby for their hospitality and to members for braving the elements and helping to run stalls on the day.

Our Annual Summer Fete was brought forward a week this year to avoid the Jubilee Celebrations. In the month running up to the fete, members ran a stall in the market place and sold draw tickets, promotional goods and promoted the fete and League of Friends. Thanks to Halesworth Town Council for allowing us the space in the Market Place. Once again we were extremely lucky with the weather and the sun was shining for us all day. The fete was officially opened at 1pm by Mr & Mrs Alan Witherby. Mrs Witherby along with Jackie Adams our PCSO judged the Bonny Baby competition later in the afternoon. Judging all the bonny babies in Halesworth was no easy task, but 3 winners were eventually decided on and received certificates and prizes donated by Boots of Halesworth and Cutlers Hill Pharmacy. Visitors enjoyed talented displays by Budding Arts Dance Group, Gypsy Dreams Belly Dancers, Lowestoft Signing Choir and Holton Shotokan Karate Group. There were all the usual stalls and attractions including refreshments in the Garden Room, and a tasty BBQ. The afternoon closed with the Grand Draw. We thank everyone who was involved with the fete in anyway, there are so many people who help to contribute to make fete day such a fantastic success, thank you one and all.

Thank you to everyone that visited us at the Lions Carnival on Sunday 10th June, after heavy rainfall the event was transferred from the Town Park to the Angel Link Car Park; this didn’t put off visitors, and the rain stayed away. This was a very successful day with members running a tombola and selling promotional goods.

Our cake stall in the Thoroughfare this year was a damp Saturday morning in July. Thanks go to members and friends for all their baking efforts and to everyone who purchased. We were all sold out by 11!

On the 15th and 16th September Henry Bareham along with 3 friends completed a 24 hour golf marathon at Halesworth Golf Club in memory of Henry’s Grandmother Pamela Bishop for The League of Friends. This involved hitting balls on the driving range constantly over the 24 hours; which really isn’t as easy as it looks! Thanks to all of them for their support and enthusiasm. It is refreshing to witness youngsters give up their entire week-end to support their local community, their efforts were much appreciated. Also thanks go to Ben and the Golf Club.

During the year 2011 -2012 approval for the purchase of equipment and items of expenditure, detailed on Appendix 1 attached to the financial statements was given totalling £ 80,387 from unrestricted funds. Purchases this year have included an ultrasound machine, 3 folding wheelchairs, bloodbank refrigerator and blood mapping, ophthalmoscope and defibrillator for the surgery. This has all been made possible by the commitment and hard work of League of Friends members, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for everything you have contributed to make for such a successful year. Special thanks go to John for all the hard work he puts in as Secretary, to Mat for being such a fantastic Treasurer and efficiently dealing with our finances and to Pauline for stepping in last year and taking on the role of minutes secretary. Also, thanks to Bill our President and to all our hard working committee members. Two of our committee have decided to step down this year, thanks to Ruth and Sue for all they have contributed over the years for LoF’s. Ruth has been a longstanding member of the committee and trolley shop co-ordinator, Sue a more recent committee member.

We will be running a stall at the Lions Winter Fayre on Sunday 9th December, if you have any time to cover a shift on the stall please let me know, and any donations of tombola prizes, cakes etc would be much appreciated.

Finally, our social evening this year is on Wednesday 12th December at 7.30 in the Garden Room, please join us for nibbles, drinks and Christmas fun, everyone very welcome.

Karen Kerridge