Welwyn Garden City hospital’s Friends in need

I’LL be there for you. So sang The Rembrandts in the title credits to hit US sitcom Friends.

And that’s the message a different group of Friends wants to get across to hospital patients in WGC.

The Friends of the QE2 Hospital currently take sales trolleys round the wards each and every morning, as well as run the on-site shop.

But members are currently in limbo – as they do not know whether these services will be required when the QE2 is downgraded, and replaced with a smaller local general hospital.

But they have vowed to continue to serve for as long as they are needed.

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Shop manager Diana Holt told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “We’d love to continue to run a shop, but we’ve got to be certain it will be viable.

“We really do not know if there will be enough patients there. We can’t make any decisions until we know how big the hospital will be.”

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The future of the Friends group, which has been in existence since 1963 and, in its time, has raised more than �1m for the hospital, came up for discussion at its recent AGM.

Members suggested a number of options for going forward, which Mrs Holt said would be considered by the trustees in the coming months.

“The new hospital is two or three years away, but we’ve got to have our input now,” she added.

“We’ve had meetings with NHS Hertfordshire and are keeping in touch with the people doing the planning.”

At the AGM, it was revealed that from this year’s sales profits, the Friends were able to purchase �35,000 worth of equipment for the QE2 Hospital, with a further �41,000 pledged for other items.

A number of members received long service awards from chairman Sheila Marwood.

Pictured with Mrs Marwood are Wendy Keeling-Taylor, Irene Ephgrave, Marion Wells, Diane Ayerst, Brenda Smith, Mary Lane, Jean Campbell, Greth Baker and Kay Currington.

* Volunteers are always welcome to join the Friends group.

If you want to join, call Mrs Holt on 01707 365162 or write to her c/o the QE2 Hospital, Howlands, WGC AL7 4HQ.

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