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Manchester Foundation
Trust Charity

Fundraising group celebrated after 65 years

Thursday 09th May 2024

We were honoured to recognise The League of Friends of Wythenshawe Hospital for its extensive fundraising achievements with a celebratory plaque unveiled at a special ceremony at Wythenshawe Hospital.

The volunteer-led fundraising group ran for over sixty-five years and raised money for the hospital and local community, running three on-site cafes and a host of charitable activities. The group has raised over £3 million during its tenure as well as providing a host of social opportunities for volunteers and feeding hungry patients and visitors along the way.

Most recently, they made a donation of £100,000 to fund a suite of projects to improve patient experience and wellbeing, including rehabilitation equipment for the Burns and Plastics service and a new office for the Care of the Elderly team.

The group was sadly disbanded during the pandemic due to its cafes being closed by COVID protocols. At a special recognition ceremony at Wythenshawe Hospital, the League of Friends was commemorated with a special recognition plaque at the hospital and a celebratory lunch hosted by Kathy Cowell OBE DL, Chairman of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) which runs the hospital, and attended by the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester, Eamonn O’Neal DL.

Founded in 1955, Wythenshawe League of Friends was one of many League of Friends volunteering organisations nationwide, set up to help with day to day amenities in fledgling NHS hospitals. The group, which began amid modest surrounds in a small room with only a gas ring and a kettle, grew in both size and volunteer support with three on-site cafes at the height of its fundraising, and hundreds of volunteers.

Award-winning tea and toast was the League’s speciality, as well as coffee, cold drinks, sandwiches, hot snacks and confectionery. Fundraising activities also included fetes held on the hospital grounds and community collections. Funds supported everything from emergency packs for those admitted into A&E to state-of-the-art, life-saving equipment.

Two volunteers pivotal to the League’s fundraising over the years are Brian and Mary Kay. The two joined the League in 1970 and have since been responsible for organising the group’s fundraising for over fifty years, as well as ordering emergency packs and arranging raffles and tombolas. In 2015, the two were awarded British Citizen Awards medallions for their services to charitable giving and volunteering.

Derek Hart, The League of Friends of Wythenshawe Hospital Chairman said:

“Brian and Mary Kay first joined the League in 1970 and have worked tirelessly for the past fifty years. In the fifty years that Brian and Mary have been with the League they have never once claimed a single penny for all the expense they will have incurred over this time, which in itself is to be admired. Brian and Mary have been amazing in their dedication for which the League of Friends, MFT and Wythenshawe Hospital are truly grateful.”

“The presentation of this plaque in recognition and appreciation of the League of Friends’ work is most rewarding and reflects on all of the League’s volunteers over 66 years from early beginnings in 1955. The hard work and dedication of these selfless people has enabled the League to support endless causes over the years throughout this amazing Hospital at Wythenshawe and the local community.”

Kathy Cowell OBE DL, MFT Chairman said:

“It’s a privilege to celebrate the selfless work of The League of Friends of Wythenshawe Hospital and I am delighted that we can recognise the group’s work with a lasting symbol of recognition within the hospital. In over 65 years of service, The League of Friends have committed so much time and dedication to Wythenshawe Hospital, improving so many lives along the way, and they deserve tremendous praise.”
Stephen Dickson, CEO of Wythenshawe Hospital said:

“For over 65 years, The League of Friends of Wythenshawe Hospital have contributed immensely to the patient experience at Wythenshawe Hospital and their contributions will be felt for years to come. To volunteer their time for so long, expecting nothing in return is a testament to the League’s kindness, empathy and selfless dedication. We are extremely proud to have a place in the hospital recognising their years of service in support of the hospital and local community.”

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