Friends of Eastbourne Hospital is a registered charity which has been raising funds for over 70 years.
Originally called The Patients Association, the charity was formed in 1948 shortly before the introduction of the NHS, when it became apparent that resources would not be enough to meet the cost of all the necessities and amenities for staff and patients.
The charity was renamed in 1952 as The Friends of the Eastbourne Hospitals and supported eight local hospitals: Princess Alice, St Mary’s, The Leaf, Merlynn Convalescent, Gildredge, Downside, Eye Hospital and ENT Hospital.
Closures and consolidations over the decades saw seven of the original eight hospitals close their doors, meaning that the Eastbourne DGH (built in two phases: the first in 1976 and the second in 1989) stood as the only hospital receiving Friends’ support. It is the location of the Friends’ office, and the base for a team of over 100 in-house volunteers.
In 2013 the charity’s name was amended to reflect the fact that only the DGH remained, dropping the plural noun Hospitals and calling itself Friends of the Eastbourne Hospital. At the AGM in 2019 it was agreed that the name should be shortened further to just Friends of Eastbourne Hospital.
From the proud notation in 1956 that a total of £1000 had been raised to gift to the hospitals across the year, to our biggest ever project in 2015 which raised £1 million for a Da Vinci surgical robot, it is recorded that over £18 million in total has been raised over our 70+ years. We look forward to what the future holds.