CONTINUING a long-running tradition going back at least 30 years, the Friends of Farnham Hospital delivered Christmas gifts for all 84 in-patients at Farnham Hospital.

Because of Covid restrictions, the Friends were unable to visit the wards to deliver the gifts to patients as usual, so president Mary Probert and trustees Agnes Ibrahim, Pam Easey, Diana Martin and George Alford handed them over to matron Sue Kelk and Fran Campbell, head of service for community and older people’s medicine of Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Trustee Pam Easey has been present on each of the 30 occasions - and so she was thanked for her particular efforts in this service.

This year’s handover was suitably symbolic as the gifts will be the last act of the Friends as an independent charity as it is being combined with the wider Frimley Health Charity, albeit with its own designated account.

Last week the Friends launched its first joint appeal for new TVs in all the patients’ rooms in Farnham. The cost will be about £300 per room, making a total of £25,000, and donations can be made via the Frimley charity website.

The Friends of Farnham Hospital was founded in 1954 and over the years has provided a wide range of support to the hospital, ranging from Christmas presents and a summer strawberry tea for patients to a Christmas curry and spring flowers for staff as well as equipment, such as the public access defibrillator by the entrance from the car park and open events including the well-being days.

Even though the charity will no longer exist as a separate entity, it plans to continue to provide support in these areas.

Mary Probert, president of Farnham Friends, said: "The committee of the League of Friends are a small, passionate and dedicated group of individuals I have been proud to be associated with over the past 30 years.

"They have given so much of their time and energy to raise funds for those little luxuries that make a stay in, or visit to, hospital more comfortable.

"It is sad that this year is the last the League of Friends will exist as an independent charitable organisation but I know we will continue to support Farnham Hospital and Centre for Health through our continuing volunteering efforts and supporting the Frimley Health Charity."

Fran Campbell, head of service for community and older people’s medicine at the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We are truly humbled by the generosity of the Friends of Farnham.

"Over the past 30 years they have brought a smile to the patients of Farnham Hospital, not just at Christmas but throughout the year.

"We thank them and the local community for their ongoing support."