Hospital friends group celebrate 40 years of fundraising

The Friends of All Hallows 40th anniversary

The Friends of All Hallows 40th anniversary - Credit: Archant

Friends past and present gathered on Sunday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of a popular charity organisation.

The Friends of All Hallows garden party

The Friends of All Hallows garden party - Credit: Archant

The Friends of All Hallows Hospital in Ditchingham are a stalwart band of volunteers who have raised more than £1m through events such as quizzes, bingo and garden parties, to make sure the patients have the best experience possible.

And on Sunday it was a chance to celebrate with a special party to mark four decades of fundraising.

Current chairman Pat Blakeburn said they had a wonderful afternoon at the hospital and added: “Invited guests milled around the marquees catching up with friends while the U3A Ukulele Players and the Somerleyton Strummers played memorable music. It all took place in the beautiful hospital gardens with several residential patients joining in too.”

A raffle raised £209 and a donation of £766 was also received.

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Special guest Lady Bacon cut the celebration cake and the chairman of the board of All Hallows presented a sundial to Mrs Blakeburn to commemorate the occasion.

The previous day the Friends held the annual summer garden party on the grounds raising almost £2,000 to plough back into the hospital.

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Stalls sold goods made by residential patients and daycare patients, the housekeeping department provided light snacks and lunches and the Loddon Brass Band entertained visitors.

Mrs Blakeburn said: “While the weather was a little unkind, we soldiered on and did very well indeed. All the children’s games and the bouncy castle were very well used and the Punch and Judy was the icing on the cake so to speak.”

The event was opened by Bungay Town Reeve Eamon Gaffney.

The Friends were formed in 1976 by a group of local people who agreed to raise money to help the sisters from the Community of All Hallows buy oil to heat the building.

Through their fundraising and legacies left by patients and their families, the hospital has benefited from a new day treatment and therapy centre, transport, a sensory garden, equipment for beds and many other items.

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