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The Friends of Darlington Memorial Hospital - 70th Anniversary

A Darlington charity established to support patients using their local hospital, is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

The Friends of Darlington Memorial Hospital was established in 1948, the same year as the National Health Service, with the aim of 'Bringing comfort to patients, to brighten their lives, to help and encourage staff and to enhance the good reputation of the hospital.'

Current Chairman,  Alan Charlton, who has been in the role for 22 years and who received an MBE in 2006 for his 'Contribution to the Community', said, "The Friends of Darlington Memorial Hospital is run entirely by volunteers for the benefit of patients and we're delighted to be marking our 70th birthday.   We do whatever we can to support the excellent work of County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust's teams by helping their patients and we work closely with the wards and departments at the hospital. Our very popular and successful volunteer car service, for instance, has been bringing patients to their appointments at Darlington Memorial Hospital, then taking them home again afterwards, since 1997.  It's entirely free, although many people kindly make a donation.  Each year, the service helps around 7,000 patients.

"Over the years we've been fortunate in benefiting from the generosity of local people who have made donations and bequeathed money to us.  This has enabled us, in the last 20 years alone, to purchase medical equipment worth over £2m for the benefit of patients using Darlington Memorial Hospital." 

The milestone was marked by a celebration attended by Mrs Sue Snowden, Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, who unveiled a plaque. 

Professor Paul Keane, Chairman of County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said, "We're lucky to have many devoted and hardworking volunteers across our sites and services, including those who give their time and energy to The Friends of Darlington Memorial Hospital.   We're very grateful to them and delighted to be part of their celebration."



Published 17th October 2018

'I have to compliment everyone on their pleasant persona and their expertise and knowledge. By the end of the 5 days, I did not feel as though I had been in a hospital ward and was very relaxed.'

Patient, Ward 16 Orthopaedics, University Hospital of North Durham