FoSMH October 2023 Newsletter

27th September 2023

Why St Monica’s Hospital Mattered Then – And Still Does

David Kenworthy, Chair, The Friends of St Monica’s Hospital

In Alan Bennett’s The History Boys, one of the characters is asked to define history. He said it was ‘just one thing after another’. I’ll leave out the expletive he used!

Whilst a bored schoolboy might have a jaundiced view of history, I have recently enjoyed discovering something of the history of Friends of St. Monica’s. Some of you will have known Barbara Twigg who died recently. In 2001 she produced a short film about the hospital. This along with a booklet from 1993 celebrating the centenary of the hospital are great reminders of how the hospital was a significant facility for the local population before the NHS.

Apart from stories from people associated with the hospital, there are snippets about finances. In 1935 the hospital had a deficit of £100. Whist drives and dances were organised to raise money and in 1938, the hospital was solvent again with a balance of £42/2/5d. In 1941, the nurse’s salary was raised by £10 to £58 a year with a £3 uniform allowance. All this was in the days when patients paid for their health services and charities had to help many people get the treatment they needed.

History helps to give us perspective especially when change happens so rapidly these days. A broken leg meant that one patient was kept in St Monica’s for eight weeks. Now, she would be discharged to recover at home.

Just recently the NHS announced nursing for patients at their homes using technology to remotely monitor them. It would be easy to dismiss hospitals such as St Monica’s as relics of the past. But I know, from speaking to friends who have been patients in St Monica’s, how caring the staff are and how a brief stay at the hospital has helped both physical and mental recovery. That is why the hospital is still at the centre of local health care and of the work of the Friends even as much of our grant-making is focused outside the hospital.

Hospital News

Earlier this year, Sister Ginny Vernon retired from full time nursing. She is still working at St Monica’s on a part time basis. With her retirement, we welcomed Jade Barnes, as our new sister-in-charge. Jade has hit the ground running and the Friends have been pleased to help her realise some of her ambitions. A recent inspection of the hospital found that there was no staff room or area where staff could take breaks. A suitable room was found, and the Friends have paid for it to be furnished and kitted out.

Jade is keen that the mental health of patients does not deteriorate whilst they are in hospital. Some patients arrive without clothes and could spend all their time in hospital in pyjamas. The Friends are now funding clothing packs for such patients. Similarly, it would be easy to forget how important simple grooming or personal care are to mental health. We now pay for regular visits by a hairdresser and toiletries which have more appeal than NHS supplies!

Karen Stone and Dawn Parkes, Trust Medical Director and Chief Nurse, dropped into Easingwold recently to visit our brilliant community nurse team and our fantastic rehabilitation and end of life care team at St Monica’s. They were delighted to see what we offer our communities and in such beautiful surroundings. FOSMH are proud to support these amazing teams and keen to hear of any new ways of helping to continue supporting Quality Improvement initiatives going forward.

Interested in Volunteering?

We are working on having volunteers back in the hospital as they are a valuable asset for patients and staff. Find out more on becoming a volunteer.

The Hospital Gardens

The surroundings can play an important role in recovery. The gardens around the hospital have looked especially attractive this summer. All the tubs have had a magnificent display of petunias amongst other brightly coloured flowers.

The gardens offer a wonderful place for patients and visitors to relax in

They are all looked after by Rob and Christine Burns who throughout the year keep the grounds looking great and are paid by the Friends. The lawns are cut on a regular basis and the trees, shrubs and hedges are cut back as required.

In spring there is always a lovely display of tulips and daffodils. There is plenty of lavender flowering in the summer for our patients and visitors to enjoy whilst sitting in the garden on warm sunny days.

The summer house is also a place to enjoy looking out onto the garden on the cooler days.

The summer house in the gardens at St Monica’s Hospital

From the Archives

  • St Monica’s Hospital; was founded in 1893 as the “Easingwold and District St Monica’s Cottage Hospital” and probably built in 1894 at the expense of Mrs Katherine Love of Hawkhills. Six beds were initially provided.
  • Funded by local subscriptions prior to the NHS. 10/- (50p) subscription entitled you to recommend one patient for admission.
  • The hospital became part of the NHS in 1948 and the bed complement was 9 in 1952, used for both general cases and chronic sick patients.
  • Major landmarks have been recorded including the Centenary celebrations on 29th October 1993 when HRH the Duchess of Kent opened the New Occupational Therapy Room.
  • HRH the Duchess of Gloucester opened the New Function Room and consulting room in 2005.
  • Today there are 12 beds; making St Monica’s one of the smallest hospitals in the country.

Grants – How We Help the Health of Our Wider Community

We have given over 20 grants to local groups and initiatives, each supporting the health and wellbeing of local residents. In this way we’ve not only allowed some ideas to become reality but also provided vital support to some already in existence. Spread across ages, challenges, abilities and locations in our area, the financial backing we’ve been able to give has made a positive change to the lives of hundreds of people from Easingwold and surrounding villages.

The Easingwold Ladies Football group offer the opportunity to play women’s football, keep fit and meet others

Examples of where we’ve helped

FoSMH have funded defibrillators across the Easingwold area

How to apply for a grant

We always welcome new applications for grants. Find out more on our Grant Applications page.

Donating to FoSMH

Fundraising has been key to making the hospital an important part of the local community and, with your help, this will continue.

1. Donate Online

The first and easiest for ad hoc donations is through the JustGiving website at:

2. Payment to Our Bank Account

The second is a straightforward direct donation to our bank account which is now with Lloyds – Sort code 30-99-50 A/c 76732160. Some donors have set up a standing order payable directly to the
bank account.

3. Bequests

Could you remember us in your will? find our more about leaving a bequest.

4. Payroll Giving

There is also a method of giving a donation through an employer’s payroll which allows the payment to be made pre-tax on a Give As You Earn basis.

If you have any questions about any of these methods, please get in touch.

Thanking Local Businesses

We are very grateful to local businesses that have helped us:

Find Out More

Please browse this website to learn more about us. You can find phone numbers for the hospital and the trust secretary and see who the current trustees are or examine our latest annual report and accounts. There is an application form for those wishing to become a friend of the trust, as well as information about how you can support the trust either financially or by becoming a volunteer. You can also see reports about the many grants that we have made to the hospital and those providing support for the health and wellbeing of local people.

How to Get in Touch

Write to us at:

The Honorary Secretary
Friends of St Monica’s
St Monica’s Hospital
Long Street
Easingwold YO61 3JD

Email: [email protected]


We are Registered Charity no. 1197052

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