Posted By: Angela Smith

Date 02-07-19

50 years later…


Group of former volunteers with Friends CEO Angela Smith by the Welcome to Moorfields sign

Welcome Back! – 50 years later…

50 years after their voluntary work in Moorfields Eye Hospital and other London hospitals a group of Germans and Norwegians today visited their old institution.

In 1968-69 A German church institution organized an exchange for young people throughout Europe, which was supported by the British Council of Churches youth department. This meant that a number of young people had the opportunity to volunteer in a British hospital for a year. A group of the young people who came to us in 1968/69 recently came back for a visit to see their former places of work today – 50 years later.

One of these young people, Hermann Kaienburg from Hamburg, today a teacher (retired), remembers: “I did not know at that time that Moorfields is the most well-known eye hospital in Europe. We were called ‘nursing aides‘ and we helped with all kinds of things – distribute meals and drinks, making beds, emptying bedpans, washing and shaveing patients etc. We also were allowed to watch operations through the overhead window of the operation theatre in our free time. Many things were completely new for us because most of us had been pupils before. It was interesting for us to talk to patients of completely different social backgrounds.“

The members of the group also volunteered at St. Mary’s, St. Giles and other hospitals. “We really learned a lot about nursing and about British life at that time, and we are happy that it is possible to visit this place again after such a long time“, Knut-Arne Wendel from Oslo told us.