THE Salisbury Hospital League of Friends supports the work of Salisbury District Hospital and local health care services by supplying comfort and help to patients and their relatives through the provision of facilities and equipment not available through NHS funding.

Since it was founded in 1954, the league has raised and donated more than £2 million.

Three years ago, it opened a traditional sweet shop in the foyer at the hospital entrance, which is open Monday to Friday.

This has become hugely popular, contributing its £20,000 profit last year to the charity. The shop is entirely run by volunteers who work either a morning or an afternoon each week.

League chairman David Stratton said “We are always looking for people to help, no matter what commitment they have. If they are unable to manage a morning or an afternoon, then there are other options, like covering relief times.

“Anyone can join the League of Friends which has a minimum annual subscription of £5. We currently have 185 members and are keen to increase that.

“The League of Friends is an opportunity for patients and their relatives to give something back to the hospital as a thank you for the care they have received, whether medical care or staff just being nice and understanding at a time when a lot of people are in a huge amount of stress when they or their loved ones are ill.”

Money is given to the league through annuities, as gifts following treatment or through fundraising events.

Earlier this year, two bungalow blocks, built in 1980 and 1994 to support relatives who use the hospital’s local and regional services, underwent a £200,000 refurbishment, much of which was provided by the League of Friends, who built them.

Each block has a fully fitted kitchen, lounge and six en-suite twin bedrooms, which are available 24 hours a day.

“Quite a number of patients, who are extremely ill, arrive in the middle of the night with their relatives who understandably don’t want to leave them,” Dr Stratton said. “The hospital draws patients from far and wide for specialist services such as the burns unit, plastic surgery, rehabilitation unit and the Spinal Unit.

“The bungalows are a place where they can stay at a minimal cost and it’s within the hospital campus, so, if there’s a change in the patient’s condition, there’s no hassle about getting them to the patient’s bedside. Both bungalow blocks are up and running and are being hugely appreciated by the people that use them.”

Dr Stratton, who spent 25 years at SDH as a Consultant Paediatrician, was invited to join the Board of Trustees of the League of Friends by the former chairman George Todd and was then asked to take over the chair himself.

” I was very pleased to be asked and more than happy to do it”, he said. ”I feel that the hospital belongs to the people. It helps us so, if we want, we can volunteer our time to help it.”

Over the last year, the league has provided funding for a device to treat lymphoedema, the ArtCare archive project, Christmas extras for patients, the Carer’s Café and comfort bags for terminal care, in addition to the bungalow refurbishment.

Whilst the League does not run its own fundraising events, it often talks to organizations about the work it does, and it collaborates closely with the professionally-run Stars Appeal, making major contributions to the latter’s campaigns, such as the CT scanner appeal in order.

For more details on how you can help visit