Friend: a “person” who “supports” a “cause,” organisation,” or “country” by “giving” financial “or” other “help.” – Oxford English Dictionary
That’s what the Oxford English Dictionary says. And the Charity Commission shows our activities as “To assist in the care and comfort of patients in the Ottery St Mary Hospital and surrounding area” and our formal constitution says: “The Object of the League shall be to relieve patients and former patients of the Hospital and other invalids in the Community who are sick, convalescent, disabled, handicapped, infirm, or in need of financial assistance and generally, to support the charitable work of the said Hospital.” “Our” hospital is perhaps more in need of a friend than ever before. Money for all sorts of public services is tighter than it has ever been – which is certainly saying something. The NHS has been fundamentally reorganised once again, with General Practitioners taking on a much wider role, and we are very lucky to have expert and professional GPs at the Coleridge Medical Centre caring for our health and wellbeing. And the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust looks after Ottery Hospital as just one of 17 community hospitals working with 9 “health and social care clusters”. How simple life must have been in comparison, back in 1870 when Mrs Gilbert Elliot and the Reverend George Smith between them created the very first Ottery St Mary Hospital. But one thing hasn’t changed; local people still care passionately about our Hospital and are still willing to actually get involved. We’d be delighted to see you too; just come along to any of our events or Committee meetings (held at the Hospital). You’ll find membership details on page 6 or email our Secretary Sheila Boyes email@example.com. Thank you to everyone who makes “our” hospital so very special.