History of the Friends

In 2001 the League of Friends of QVM Hospital and the Friends of Danesbury amalgamated to form the present Friends. Both organisations date back for more than 50 years. Today Danesbury and Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital provide some of the best care in the country for patients who may have a variety of conditions such as Stroke, MS, Parkinson’s Disease, Motor Neurone Disease or who simply need rehabilitation following a stay in an acute hospital. Until quite recently, the Centre also provided much needed respite care to allow carers to take a short break from their, often, arduous responsibilities.

When a new hospital was needed to replace the original Danesbury Home, the Friends stepped in and offered to provide help in funding a new, purpose built hospital. The Danesbury Appeal secured almost £1 million towards the cost of the building work which was completed in 1993.

In December 2010 we celebrated the opening of a new Day Room at Danesbury, now a Neurological Centre. At a cost of around £190,000 this major project was funded entirely by donations and money raised by our shops. The first in the heart of Old Welwyn village was opened in 1992. A second shop ,which has now closed, occupied a prime position in Knebworth high street.

We rely entirely on donated goods including clothes for both everyday and special occasions, children’s toys, bric-a-brac and antiques, books, pictures, jewellery and garden plants. Apart from the Managers, our shop is staffed entirely by volunteers many of whom have been actively involved since it  first opened.

A major refurbishment project at QVM Hospital was completed in Spring 2012. This included the creation of an open plan reception with a dedicated space for patients and their families. At a cost of over £40,000 this part of the work was funded by the Friends.

Key Dates

hospital with tree1902   Original QVM Cottage Hospital built on Codicote Road
1934   Present QVM Hospital opened by Duchess of York – HRH Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother
1940   Original Danesbury Hospital established at Danesbury House
1950   League of Friends of QVM formed following the creation of the National Health Service
1984   New Physiotherapy Dept at QVM opened by the Queen Mother
1993   New Danesbury Home built on site adjacent to QVM
2008   Danesbury 15th Anniversary – stained glass window designed to celebrate event (see left panel)
2010   New Day Room built at Danesbury – now a Neurological Centre
2012   Major refurbishment at QVM Hospital including a new front of house area and refurbishment of Danesbury reception and waiting area
2013   A specially commissioned Sensory Garden was created at Danesbury