SLIDESHOW: Royal visit for Eastbourne

Princess Alexandra visited Eastbourne yesterday (Thursday).

The royal joined the celebrations of the 70th Anniversary of the Friends of Eastbourne Hospitals at the Kings Drive facility.

HRH Princess Alexandra visiting Eastbourne District General Hospital (Photo by Jon Rigby)

HRH Princess Alexandra visiting Eastbourne District General Hospital (Photo by Jon Rigby)

She also visited The Chaseley Trust care home in South Cliff and spoke to patients and staff.

The 81-year-old princess has close links with the hospital having officially opened it in 1977.

She unveiled plaque to mark the Friends’ Anniversary and meet friends and volunteers who do so much to raise money and support the hospital, its patients and staff.

Harry Walmsley, the chairman of the Friends of Eastbourne Hospital, said, “It is a great honour for the Friends to have Princess Alexandra visit and help us celebrate our 70th anniversary.

“The formation of the Friends slightly predates the start of the NHS by just three months. Since that time, countless local people have helped to support the Friends with their generous donations and gift of time to support our fund raising activities.

“We would like to thank everyone who has contributed, great or small, in the past and to those who will continue to do so in the future.”

Back in 1948 there were eight hospitals in the Eastbourne area and on April 30 that year, the representatives of the various volunteer collectors got together and decided there would still be a need for them even when the NHS was formed later that year.

They formed the Hospital Patients Association that evening, which a few years later changed its name to the Friends of the Eastbourne Hospitals.