Before the League of Friends of Reading Hospitals was formed in March 1957, there had been an active linen League at the Royal Berkshire Hospital which disbanded in 1948. Therefore, with a gap of nine years, the Friends were precluded from being regarded as a direct descendant of a previous voluntary organisation.
Nevertheless, the Friends lost no time in making up for those years after the Royal Berkshire Hospital Management Committee put forward the suggestion for its foundation.
An inaugural meeting was held in the town hall at the invitation of the Mayor, who became the first president. Successive Mayors of Reading have accepted this offer ever since.
The first attempt at fund raising was an appeal letter signed by the Mayor. By November 1957 the Friends had 280 subscribers and donors. Money went further in those days.
Since then, funds have been collected in ways well known to Leagues throughout the country, namely through our Shops, Fetes, through Collection days and at special events.
The highlight of the League of Friends’ existence came when the financial position was strong enough to allow the undertaking of their first major project, building an overnight stay unit at Battle Hospital for mothers whose children had to be admitted to hospital suddenly.
Since then, our formidable list of achievements in providing equipment and facilities for the Hospital with the help of our ever-willing volunteers, stands in comparison with any League of Friends elsewhere in the UK.