Prior to 1948 records confirm that for over 80 years Voluntary Hospitals had been sustained and grew due to the efforts of voluntary workers. The Minister of Health at that time, Aneurin Bevan feared on one hand that this would stop and he therefore appealed that voluntary service in one way or another would continue after July 5, 1948 (the date of the official launch of the NHS at Park Hospital, Manchester).

Here in Carmarthen this service had been considered to be so valuable that a “Friends of the Infirmary Association” was formed to assist the then County Infirmary Association at Priory Street in Carmarthen. Its objects were:

1. To encourage and foster interest in the work of the Infirmary by means of voluntary service and support.

2. To provide amenities and comforts for patients and staff not otherwise available from official sources by organisation of money raising efforts.

3. To support in every way the work of official bodies and committees for the benefit of the hospital service.

However at a meeting of the Friends of the Infirmary on the 7th of February 1949 a motion to change the title to ‘League of Friends of the Hospital’ was put and accepted.

A press report appeared in the Carmarthen Journal following this meeting explaining to the members of the public the need for continual support by voluntary effort towards the Infirmary. It must be recorded that progress was slow. But in April 1949 a lady was admitted to the Infirmary to give birth, she was expecting twins but she gave birth to triplets. She was therefore short of clothing for the extra child and at a meeting held on the 24th of April the Friends agreed to spend £2.8s.3d towards clothing for the young mother’s extra child. This action helped the public to understand the true work and intentions of the League of Friends of the Hospital.

At their meeting in October 1950 it was agreed to join the National Association of League of Hospital Friends. We were one of the first and largest leagues in the Country at that time. It is worth noting here that our funds at that time stood at £130.17.11d with a Christmas present fund of £25 and £5 for the provision of roses for the hospital wards. Today we still buy Christmas presents for those unfortunate to be in hospital for Christmas but today’s costs obviously bear no comparison. Another point of interest here is that among the list of officials at that time is the name of Mr David T.P. Rogers recorded as Secretary he remained in this post until 1995.

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