History of the League of Friends of Buckingham Hospital

A Public meeting was held in the Town Hall on 19th July 1967, in response to a potential threat of closure by the Labour Administration at the time. This was convened by County Cllr. Bob Wheeler and Mrs. Doreen Wheeler of Stowe. As a result the League of Friends was born.

For some years the League supported the Hospital in small ways, helping patients and staff in any way possible. This included Christmas gifts for In-patients and “tea and biscuits” for visiting specialists,. Some money was also used for decorating the Children’s Ward, so that it could function as a Day Room for In-patients.

In 1976, Dr. C. R. Brown conceived the idea of raising larger sums of money, to put in an X-ray Department and a lift. The League also helped fund a Secretary, an Out-patlents Nurse and a part-time radiographer. g necessary for running the proposed new Clinics and X-ray Department.

At a public meeting at in May 1977, the largest employers in the Town demonstrated their willingness to guarantee an income of £10,000 per annum. To his eternal credit, Mr. Roger Titley, of the Buckingham Health Authority, immediately said, “you are on”, thus enabling the Clinics scheme to start, plus the rare benefit of GPs being able to arrange x-rays, and see them immediately, prior to their being “reported” by a specialist. On 10th September 1977, the first of the new Out-patient Clinics opened.

In 1982 the local staff started to develop a plan to improve the old building. This would have been largely funded by the Friends. This plan had reached the stage of early Architectural drawings, at which point the Oxford Regional Authority announced that they would produce their own plan to greatly increase the size of the Hospital, by an extension to the rear of the original 19th century building. They wanted the support of the local population and were delighted that the League of Friends was able to guarantee an immediate £130,000 with the potential for more. In 1989 the new building was opened by HRH The Duke of Kent on 22 May 1991, In 1999 a further extension to the New Wing was started, the total cost was £300,000, £120,000 of which was provided by the League of Friends.

Although there have been no further projects of that size since 1999, the League has continued to support both inpatient and outpatient areas of the hospital, often providing much needed medical equipment, contributing to the cost of the Embleton Day unit for the elderly with mental health problems and paying for the maintenance of the gardens. At the same time, we continue to provide the smaller pleasantries, such as daily newspapers, and staff refreshments.