History of the Friends
Since it was first launched in May 1963 the charity has raised millions of pounds for
Moorfields Eye Hospital which have gone to support research, clinical equipment and
facilities to improve patient care, services and the overall environment of the hospital
for staff, patients and the public. The original objectives were: â€śThe raising of money
to be spent on increasing the comfort of patients and the nursing staff, outside
allocation provided by the Ministry of Health, and the recruitment of volunteers to
help in the many ways which are of infinite importance to the happiness and general
welfare of the patients, many of whom for shorter or longer periods are unable to
see.â€ť It is clear that not much has changed in 50 years! The NHS is still unable to
fund everything that a hospital like Moorfields requires.
The first chairman was Lady Hoare and the treasurer was Sir Frederick Hoare. There
were 57 subscribing members and 103 donors. The Friends had ÂŁ250 in their bank
account in 1963. As well as the main committee there were three sub-committees:
Finance, Appeals and Voluntary Services. By December the voluntary scheme was
organised with the aim of having 30 regular volunteer helpers at each main site (High
Holborn, Highgate and City Road). Our membership is now approximately 750.
In the first year, The Friends raised ÂŁ2,300 (ÂŁ38,700 in todayâ€™s money). Volunteer
activities included reading to and writing letters for patients, and escorting patients to
and from the hospital; mobile telephones (on trolleys!), bed tables, a talking book
library and many other amenities.
The Friendsâ€™ shop opened in 1967, but it was little more than a kiosk. Today it has
smart modern premises and a large stock of items for sale.