On 6th April 1954, a public meeting was held in Salisbury Guildhall, chaired by the then Mayor, Councillor Hedley Annetts.
The purpose of the meeting was to see whether there would be enough desire to set up a new organisation, composed entirely of volunteers, to support the local hospitals and health community. Indeed there was! The Salisbury League of Friends was born!
One of the first members was Miss Elizabeth Batten, who has completed 60 years of distinguished service, is still active in the League and, in 2014, was appointed our President. Over the decades, members and supporters of the League have fulfilled numerous roles: providing volunteers to help patients and staff, ward trolley services and fundraising in all sorts of ways, including, since 1993, the hospital shop; giving grants to wards and departments for essential items of equipment, furniture or furnishings; and, since its foundation, the League has funded the purchase of presents for patients unfortunate enough to have to remain in hospital over Christmas – a much appreciated contribution which continues today.
In addition to “small” grants, the League has donated significant individual sums towards major hospital projects e.g. £100,000 to help purchase Keyhole Surgery equipment, £50,000 towards the CT Scanner, £25,000 to refurbish the Mortuary visitors’ area, £20,000 for a family room in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, £10,000 to the Speech Therapy Department and £10,000 for a new bathroom in the Spinal Treatment Centre.
During the 30 years Chairmanship of Ray Annetts, son of the first chairman, the League financed the entire cost of building two bungalows on the current hospital site to provide emergency and respite accommodation for relatives of people who have been admitted as inpatients. More recently, this facility has also been used to help patients travelling from afar for specialist treatment and rehabilitation. The League of Friends’ bungalows (as they became to be known) were built in 1980 and 1994, to commemorate the 25th and 40th Anniversary of the founding of the League of Friends in Salisbury. Since their construction, both bungalows have been heavily used and appreciated by relatives and patients. Each bungalow comprises of a fully fitted kitchen, lounge and 6 double en-suite bedrooms and is available 24 hours a day.