On Friday 5th October The League of Friends, staff from Cannock Chase Hospital and guests gathered to mark the unveiling of a plaque to remember Ethel Powell MBE, the founder of what is now called the Stafford and Cannock League of Hospital Friends.

Harold Bould, the chairman of the LOF’s Board of  Trustees made a wonderful speech, we though you might like to read it….

Ethel Powell MBE 1920-2018.

Good afternoon my name is Harold Bould and on behalf of the Board of Trustees of Stafford & Cannock League of Hospital Friends, can I welcome you here this afternoon to honour a very special lady who sadly passed to higher service on February 13th 2018 —Ethel Powell MBE.   Ethel was a very special lady who was much loved and missed by all her family and friends.

A tireless fundraiser who was labelled by some as the ‘Cannock’s Florence Nightingale’ she was awarded an MBE and on her retirement in 2010 (however I am not really sure she ever did retire) she received the honour of ‘Freedom of the district’ and was only the third person to receive this award.

Although I never had the privilege of knowing Ethel, as someone who grew up in Cannock, I was aware of the fantastic work done by Ethel and the League of Friends, but it wasn’t until I joined the Board of The Stafford & Cannock League of Friends that I began to understand the scale of her contribution to Cannock Chase.

It would be impossible to list all the equipment that has been provided over the years but I feel sure that every part of the hospital has benefited in some way from the work done by Ethel and The League of Hospital Friends and therefore I believe it’s fitting this tribute is situated here in the heart of the hospital for everyone to see and remember her, as I am sure the Hospital was in the heart and soul of Ethel.

Before I ask the family and our special guest Amanda Milling MP to step forward and unveil this tribute to Ethel, I am sure that Ethel would wish (maybe even expect) me to say a little about The League as I feel there is no greater way we can remember her than by keeping up her good work started back in 1977 by Ethel and her late husband John.

Although The League has changed and merged with Stafford it still continues to have the same high values established back in 1977 but things have had to move on and change.

The Stafford & Cannock League of Friends now provides catering and ward support to the patients and their families and staff in Cannock , County and St Georges Hospitals and is now one of the leading providers of ‘Supported Housing in Stafford’ and I am delighted to say that we have just purchased our first property in Cannock.

This year is also very special for The Stafford & Cannock League of Hospital Friend’s  as it’s now 60 years from when it was first established  and this is our Diamond Anniversary year.

We continue to raise and donate funds to all three hospitals to provide items for the patients and their families and we are shortly to commence work on a garde here in Cannock Hospital where we plan to plant a tree in Ethel’s name, we are also going to ensure that we re-establish the other remembrance gardens around the hospital so that people who donated for their loved ones in the past are not forgotten

So I sincerely hope that we are continuing the work of the League of Friends in a way Ethel would have approved of,  if so there can be no greater tribute we can pay to this very special lady.

Additionally, Harold made the following offer:

“Whilst working on the continuing garden project we have been made aware that some of the old dedication plaques have disappeared, for all sort of reasons. So together with the hospital we’re building a new memorial wall within the grounds.

If you’ve made a donation to The League of Friends at Cannock Hospital in the past as a dedication to someone who has passed, please contact the League, admin@sclohf.co.uk or on 01785 413233 so that we can ensure the name can be incorporated into a new memorial.”