Hospital renames diner in recognition of work

LEAGUE OF FRIENDS From left, former treasurer Geoff Rushton, chairwoman Brenda Sharp, membership secretary Maz Churcher and committee member Jenny Draper.

LEAGUE OF FRIENDS From left, former treasurer Geoff Rushton, chairwoman Brenda Sharp, membership secretary Maz Churcher and committee member Jenny Draper.

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FRIENDS and former colleagues of two people who dedicated their lives to Gosport’s hospital met yesterday to honour their service.

Members of the Gosport War Memorial Hospital League of Friends marked the official naming of its restaurant after Mary Tyrell.

Mary Tyrell

Mary Tyrell

The 91-year-old had served as honorary secretary, leading the group, for 52 years before her death in June this year.

Her picture is now on the wall in Mary’s Diner at the hospital, alongside that of Dr Philip Gray, 79, a well-known doctor whose funeral was held in April.

The pair had stood shoulder to shoulder to fight against the closure of the hospital when it was proposed by the health authority of the day in 1983.

Former League of Friends treasurer Geoff Rushton spoke yesterday afternoon before the Mayor of Gosport, Councillor John Beavis, opened the restaurant.

Dr Philip Gray

Dr Philip Gray

Honorary Alderman Rushton said: ‘Mary devoted her whole life.

‘She really was the League of Friends.

‘Philip was a local GP and he came on to the committee – having a doctor helps an awful lot.’

The league was set up to help patients wherever it can.

And in keeping with the essence of the group, it had paid for new blinds to be installed at the diner.

Two benches bearing inscriptions with Mary and Philip’s names on them have also been bought and will be installed outside for patients.

John Ward, 90, of Kings Road, Gosport, has fond memories of Mary.

He said: ‘She was very dedicated. This really was her life.

‘It’s a wonderful memorial to Mary and to Dr Gray.

‘They’re both celebrated as well as remembered for all their work with the League of Friends.’

Jenny Draper, of the league, had known Mary all her life.

She said: ‘People will say “why is it called Mary’s Diner?” and the staff will know and be able to explain what contribution she actually made to the hospital.

‘Not just 52 years as the secretary but all the things she did over the top of that.’

Former partners in Philip’s practice also attended and paid tribute to his work, while representatives from Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust were present.

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