Professional workers and volunteer helpers work together with superb organisation to make life more comfortable for hospital patients, said Finchley MP and Opposition Leader Mrs. Margaret Thatcher on Saturday.
Mrs. Thatcher was speaking at the Willow Shop of Friern Hospital, Friern Barnet Road, where she had tea with members of the Friern Barnet district WRVS and met members of the hospital staff. The WRVS had contributed to the cost of the Willow pavilion.
“One of the problems of life today is that people say ‘I do not want to get involved,’” said Mrs. Thatcher. I want to say thank you for being the people who are happier to get involved.
“If only more people would realise that they would be much happier than they are … the more you put into life the more you will get out of it.”
Mrs Thatcher paid tribute to the close liaison between the professional workers at the hospital and the WRVS who run many “extras” for the patients.
WRVS district organiser Mrs. Olive Dyke welcomed Mrs. Thatcher to the Willow Shop. Among those present were Dr. David Pitcher, chairman, of the Friern Hospital Medical Committee, Mrs. Sylvia Pitcher and the couple's nine-year-old son, Andrew; Mr. Peter Farrier, hospital administrator, Mr. Kenneth Lait, divisional nursing officer (P) and Mrs. Peggy Jay, chairman of the North Camden Community Health Council and a former chairman of the Friern Hospital management committee.
There was a surprise for four long-serving members of the WRVS when Mrs. Thatcher presented them with their 15-year service medals.
They were: Mrs. Betty Ermelli, of 67, Friern Barnet Lane, a driver and helper with the meals-on-wheels service; Mrs. Kathleen Crowch, of Shrublands Close, Whetstone, who spends most of her WRVS time at the hospital; Mrs. May March, of 1, Beech Lawns, North Finchley, who works in the WRVS centre office, and Mrs. May Folkard, of 86, Raleigh Drive, Whetstone, who works in the library shop and does meals-on-wheels.
During the afternoon, which marked the 25 years in their Halliwick Court, Parade office, Mrs. Thatcher chatted to WRVS members and saw an exhibition of photographs showing the early days of the district WRVS.
Tea was provided by a team of WRVS helpers who were thanked by Mrs. Thatcher.
Before leaving Mrs. Thatcher was presented with a bowl of Christmas hyacinth bulbs by Mrs. Dyke. Mrs. Jay was presented with a pot plant and, in thanking the WRVS, she spoke of her many happy memories of Friern Hospital and said it remained close to her heart.