Former Crawley Hospital staff help keep NHS retirement group thriving

Venue for the exhibition - Crawley Museum
Venue for the exhibition - Crawley Museum

After nearly folding a few years ago, the Crawley branch of a welfare organisation is thriving and taking part in a month-long display at the town’s museum this month.

The Crawley branch of the NHS Retirement Fellowship – one of the smallest of the organisation’s 150 branches nationwide with just over 25 members – takes a valuable part in a month long display at Crawley Museum in September.

Already this year it has staged an exhibition in the town library and held a picnic in the Tilgate Park to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS, and the 40th anniversary of the NHS Retirement Fellowship in July.

Six years ago the branch nearly folded but under the leadership of former midwife Irma Stuart-Tei and a team of committee members it is now flourishing and attracting new members, most of whom worked at Crawley Hospital.

The museum exhibition will feature pictures from the past at the hospital, memories of branch members and memorabilia including nurses’ uniforms, belt buckles and badges.

It will form part of the museum’s ‘Working Life in Crawley’ exhibition, which is open until September 28.

On September 12 and 13 a national exhibition featuring a time line in developments in health care over the centuries will be included.

The exhibition is touring the country as part of the NHS Retirement Fellowship’s celebration of 70 years of the NHS and 40 years since the organisation, which now has about 10,000 members, was started.

Invitations have been extended to neighbouring branches and to local civic leaders to visit the exhibition.

Fellowship events in this celebration year have been supported by a £10,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

See also: Cash boost to help Crawley stage large-scale cultural event