Port Hope Hospital Women's Auxiliary Valentine Tea at the Cumberland home  February 3, 1967
Picture from Helen (Watson) Fulford
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from A History of the Port Hope Hospitals 1911-1980
by Isabel Marie Humble
The nucleus of a fund for a Port Hope Hospital had been unofficially started by a group of women prior to the first recorded public meeting (click here) for that purpose held in the Town Hall April 28, 1911. The leader of the group was Mrs. E. J. W. Burton, wife of the C.N.R. Agent in Port Hope. Other women involved were Mrs. Reid, Mrs, E. E. Snider, Mrs. H. T. Bush, Mrs. C. S. Haultain, Miss J. Tempest, Mrs. Rierdon, Mrs. Southby and Miss Scott.

After the purchase of the Janes site for a hospital in May 1912, the Hospital Board sent a letter to Mrs. Burton, President of the Women's Hospital Mission, outlining their position and plans. During the summer of 1912, a committee of ladies appointed by the Board visited the Cottage Hospital in Cobourg to see how it was operated. Situated at the corner of James and George Street this hospital had been in operation since 1897. Members of the committee appointed were Mrs. H. T. Bush, Mrs. Elizabeth Edgar, Mrs. R. A. Mulholland, Miss Scott and Mrs. Norman Gould.

In the early days of the Women's Hospital Mission the members of the Mission provided linen and small supplies for the hospital. The first Tag Day recorded was held in 1917 at the Port Hope Fair with proceeds of $281.00. This enabled them to contribute $422.00 to the X-Ray Fund for the new Ward Street Hospital. During 1917 the Mission also furnished and decorated the nurses' residence in the building on Hope Street which had been the first hospital.

Annual Garden Parties were held on the hospital grounds in the summer to celebrate the "birthday" of the Ward Street Hospital. Those attending, merchants of the town and people from the community contributed gifts of food as well as money for the hospital. It was a happy occasion and proud parents attended accompained by their children who were born in the hospital.

Another popular and successful fund raising event introduced by the Mission was an annual Valentine Tea held in Seaton Hall.

Mrs. Elizabeth Edgar had been President of the Hospital Mission from 1913. In the late 1940's she was in poor health and the activities of the organization were at a standstill. The Joint Federal and Provincial grants for hospital construction had gone into effect in 1948 and by 1950 Ontario had public prepaid hospital care. The Hospital Board was considering expansion and had great need of support from an active group of women.

In May 1950 a meeting of women interested in reviving the Women's Hospital Mission was arranged by the Port Hope Hospital Board of Trustees and was held in the Town Hall with H. S. Winfield, President of the Board, acting as Chairman. It was decided to reorganize, and a commitee was elected to bring in nominations for officers. Members of the commitee were: Mrs. R. McDerment, Mrs. J. W. Foote, Mrs. H. S. Winfield, Mrs. A. E. Fulford and Mrs. C. B. Kelly.

Mrs. Rhynas, President of the Women's Hospital Aids Association of Ontario, who spoke at the meeting said she thought it unwise to have a doctor's wife as President of an Auxiliary. When after two meetings of the Nominating Committee they had found no one willing to accept the office of President. Mrs. C. B. Kelly agreed to take that office.

The first meeting of the Port Hope Hospital Women's Auxiliary was held June 5, 1950 at 8 p.m. in the Town Hall, H. S. Winfield, Chairman of the Board, conducted nominations for President. Mrs, C. B. Kelly was elected and took charge of the meeting. The following officers were elected: 1st Vice-President, Mrs. H. S. Winfield; 2nd Vice-President, Mrs. S. Wright; Recording Secretary, Mrs. E. A. Hunt; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. W. R. Goodman; Treasurer, Mrs. A. J. Ballett; Public Relations, Mrs. M. Hancock. Members of the Executive Committee were: Mrs. J. W. Foote, Mrs. H. E. Goodeve, Mrs. R. E. Sculthorpe, Mrs. B. Thompson and Mrs. R. McDerment. Honorary Officers were Mrs. E. Edgar, Mrs. J. L. Westaway, Miss J. Tempest and Mrs. E. E. Snider. Mrs. Edgar was at this time eighty-nine years of age.

The new name of the organization was approved at this meeting and the annual fee was set at 50 cents. In August 1950, the President was asked to attend Board Meetings. A sewing Committee was formed and articles such as glove bags, powder bags, bias bandages and nursery wash cloths were completed. Auxiliary members visited the hospital weekly. At the end of October, Mrs. C. B. Kelly and Mrs. H. S. Winfield attended the Convention of the Ontario Women's Hospital Aids at the Royal York in Toronto. At this meeting the name of the latter was changed to Women's Hospital Auxiliaries Association — Province of Ontario.

Valentine Tea of 1967 at the Lions' Centre
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A Constitution was drawn up by the Executive Committee. The purpose of the Auxiliary was to improve services to the patients by working in close co-operation with the Hospital Board and staff; to make the community aware of the needs of the hospital by public relations programmes; and to assist the hospital in a voluntary capacity in all fields of service. A maximum two year term in the same office was instituted. After a membership drive (in 1951) there were 230 members.

During the first year of operation the Auxiliary revived the annual Valentine Tea and Bazaar. It was held in the Town Hall as a cold meat and salad supper, with fouf bazaar tables and fish pond. It was estimated that between 475 - 500 people attended from Port Hope and the surrounding area. For many years this event was to prove the most lucrative as well as most appealing means of fund raising for the hospital. Draws and a delicatessen table, touch-and-take and white elephant tables were added to the sewing, baking, candy and handicraft tables. The serving of supper was not repeated but tea was served at small tables with pourers seated at a long table which in later years had the Auxiliary tablecloth on it. In 1962 after the opening of the Lions' Centre, which had much more space, the event was held there. In 1964 with the new hospital nearing completion, the proceeds, with the addition of further donations, reached $3,082.00.

Unfortunately, weather conditions in February are unpredictable and the Lions' Centre was located on a hill. The worst occasion was on February 10, 1965 when a treacherous ice storm made the roads impassable after the Auxiliary had dozens of cookies and sandwiches ready and other items in boxes. The Tea had to be postponed for a day and by dint of chain telephoning and radio announcements, the Tea was successfully carried on the following- day.

A very memorable occasion was the Valentine Tea of 1967 when those assisting wore costumes of an earlier period to mark Canada's Centennial. In 1969 and 1970 the Tea was held in the Christian Education Centre of the United Church and in 1971 in the Presbyterian Hall, both closer to the down town area. In 1972 it was decided to revive the Florence Nightingale Tea which had not been held in May for 14 years.

In 1952 the Auxiliary contributed $1,100.00 towards a dishwasher for the hospital kitchen and also provided stainless steel tables. Some new equipment was also provided for the operating and x-ray room.

The project for 1954 was renovation of the waiting room. It was furnished by the Auxiliary and also one half of the cost of materials for panelling and complete flooring.

A kitchen was set up in the nurses' residence by the Auxiliary in 1955. Tray favours for special occasions were made for hospital patients.

During 1957 in addition to the Valentine Tea, a Tea and Hat Show was held in the Town Hall, replacing the Birthday Tea. In October a Tag Day was held. Fruit, magazines and candy free of charge were distributed to patients weekly by the Auxilians.

A $50.00 award to a Port Hope High School girl entering a school of nursing was instituted in 1957. This has been increased over the years and now three $100.00 bursaries are awarded to male or female students entering the health field, on the recommendation of the High School staff.

In 1958 the annual membership fee was increased from 50 cents to $1.00. Representatives from the Auxiliary attended a Regional Conference for the first time. The Hospital Auxiliary tablecloth, a long white linen cloth with names of contributors embroidered in green, was started and received support from the community. Through the years it has been used at events such as the Valentine Tea and Florence Nightingale Tea where it is a conversation piece as people locate their names and those of their family and friends. It has also been displayed at Auxiliary Conferences. There are now approximately 750 names embroidered on the cloth.

In 1960 the Hospital Birthday Party and Tea, instead of being held as usual on the lawn outside of the Nurses' Residence, was held in the Dr. Powers' School Auditorium for the first time on June 29. A Tag Day was held in September. Vanishing luncheon parties were started in October by two hostesses, the proceeds amounting to $950.00. These were continued for several years as dessert, coffee parties and bridge parties. They were then discontinued but revived again in 1976 as coffee parties. Auxiliary members also helped with gate receipts at the Gymkhana held at the Currelly farm, an event which continued for several years with the Hospital Trust receiving the receipts.

At a Regional Meeting in Cobourg in 1960, Mrs. A. H. Humble was elected President of Region #8 and Mrs. G. I. Gould, Secretary Treasurer. In 1961 Mrs. Humble was elected Recording Secretary of the Women's Hospital Auxiliaries Association of Ontario. Two members of the Auxiliary, instead of one, now attended Board meetings. At the Annual Meeting in the Town Hall, with 75 members present, R. B. Baxter, Chairman of the Hospital Board, spoke on the need for planning for a new hospital. During 1961 the Auxiliary purchased furniture for four private rooms and provided curtains for the Women's Ward. Mrs. C. B. Kelly, first President of the Auxiliary, was given an Honorary Life Membership Certificate in the Port Hope Hospital Auxiliary and a membership pin in October 1961. She died in November 1962.

In January 1962 a newsletter was sent to all members of the Auxiliary. This has continued to be an effective way of keeping in touch with Auxilians. At the Annual Meeting in the Town Hall, a panel discussion on 'The Progress of our New Hospital' was held with J. S. Laurie as moderator and W. C. Keyes Chairman of the Board; Dr. R. McDerment, representing the Medical Staff, and W. E. Barnett, Architect of Toronto, participating.

In March 1962 the Auxiliary pledged $12,000.00 over a period of three years to the Hospital Campaign Fund. The following year this was increased to $22,000.00 when an additional canvass for $50,000.00 was necessary before construction could start. In the following years every possible way of making money was explored, although it seemed to Auxilians that there must be very few that had not been tried.

Mrs. C. W. Sheridan, President of the Hospital Auxiliaries Association of Ontario, spoke at the Annual Meeting in the Dr. Powers' School. Much useful information on hospital shops and purchasing was included in her talk. A model of the new hospital was displayed by H. S. Milne of the Hospital Board.

Three Theatre Nights were held netting $700.00 in addition to the usual Auxiliary fund raising events. At the Annual Meeting in 1963, John Davis, Administrator of Winchester Community Hospital since 1956, was speaker. He was to commence duties in Port Hope in March 1964. In April a concert with local talent, called "April Antics" was put on in the Dr. Powers' School. Miss Chrystall Fallis, Superintendent of Nurses since 1955, who left the staff in June 1964, was presented with a portable radio by the Auxiliary.

The fall of 1964 was a busy time for the Auxiliary. When Open House was held at the new hospital on October 18, members served refreshments in the cafeteria. Auxilians helped in many ways with preparations and the moving of patients from the old hospital on November 6, 1964. The first meeting of the Hospital Auxiliary in the new building was held in the Physiotherapy Room on November 12.

Plans for operating the Gift Shop had been made early in 1964 with members attending a one day session on Gift Shops and later the National Gift Show in Toronto in November. The Shop was opened on November 10 and provided a service appreciated by staff, patients and visitors, and in addition a steady financial support for the work of the Auxiliary.

The Hospital Cart with an attractive assortment of articles for sale soon began weekly rounds to patients. Permission was also given by the Board for operation of a Library Cart once a week. This was later increased to twice weekly. At this time the custom of giving hand knitted bootees to each baby born in the hospital was begun.

In 1965 the Auxiliary purchased a Blood Bank Refrigerator for the hospital for $1,500.00. Through the co-operation of all members and the people of the community in supporting fund raising events, $19,000.00 of the $22,000.00 pledge had been paid.

In 1966, Miss Hodgson, Director of Nurses, who was leaving, was presented with a sterling silver bracelet. A Bird Respirator, Mayo stand and sponge rack, adjustable stool and three sets of safety sides for beds were purchased.
The custom of presenting a gift to the first baby of the year was established in January 1967. It is usually a silver spoon or a mug which can be preserved.

The Candy Stripers Programme was started in 1967 at the request of Miss Meldorf, Director of Nurses, who mentioned need of help in the hospital and suggested they might be able to carry trays and help feed those unable to feed themselves. The Auxiliary supplies uniforms and the hospital does the training. Recruiting is done through the co-operation of a teacher at the Port Hope and District High School. On orientation day, a nurse shows the new recruits the hospital and instructs them in what should and should not be done or said. Working after school, a senior Candy Striper works with a new one at first. The young students with their pink and white striped pinafores are a cheering sight in the hospital. Usually there are 15 recruits each year bringing the working total to about 26 each year. Some girls continue as Candy Stripers for as long as five years — a splendid record of volunteer service. Caps are received after 50 hours of work, stripes after 75, pins after 100. These are provided by the Auxiliary. Some Candy Stripers work Saturday mornings in laboratory and x-ray departments. An annual party has always been held for the girls and their mothers. In recent years it has been at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Claude Fitzgibbon, where swimming and a barbeque are enjoyed. Each year an award is given to an outstanding Candy Striper. In 1978 this event went to Darlene Elliott who had accumulated 690 hours in her five years of volunteer service on the nursing unit and the x-ray department.

In November 1968 at the Meeting of the Auxiliary, there was discussion of a report given at the Convention in Toronto entitled 'Hospitals of the Future and the Changing Role of the Volunteer', which stressed the need for more diverse volunteer work. Ideas such as Meals-on-Wheels and visiting the elderly when they leave hospital were presented. Volunteer visiting in Hope Haven Rest Home was started and names of the elderly were taken by Auxilians to send them cards or gifts on special occasions. Mrs. Roy Dayman volunteered to play the piano at Hope Haven and Dorset Street Nursing Home for residents several times a month, which she still continues to do. In 1967 the Auxiliary presented Mrs. Dayman with a special award for her outstanding service to others.

At the May meeting in 1969, Mrs. A. E. Fulford, Miss May McKenny and Mrs. Alice Long were presented with Certificates of Service and Auxiliary pins in recognition of long service.

Permission to begin another volunteer programme, Arts and Crafts, in the hospital was given in 1970. This was enthusiastically received by ambulatory patients and many attractive articles were made by them with the assistance of the volunteers. In 1977 it was discontinued at the request of the hospital staff.

In 1969, Mrs. H. S. Winfield was elected Chairman of Region #7 Hospital Auxiliaries Association of Ontario. In October 1971, Mrs. Winfield and Mrs. A. H. Humble were given Life Memberships in the Provincial Association at the Convention in Toronto.

Meanwhile purchases were being made on the priority recommendations of the Board. A transport stretcher was purchased in 1969, a microscope for the laboratory in 1971, a cryostat for $2,224.00 in 1973, as well as a microtome for cancer detection costing $2,228.00. In 1974 a Bird Respirator was bought, and in 1975 purchases totalling almost $6,000.00 — defibrillator, $3,509.00 and 33 pairs of drapes, $2,070.00. During 1976 an Ivac Drip Controller, Tomac Surgilift, Techlem Stretcher and Ice Machine were added. The Bradma card admitting system costing more than $4,000.00 was financed by the Auxiliary in 1977 and a new fetal Monitor and Phototherapy lamp were purchased for the Obstetrical Unit. Early in 1978 a heart monitor, $7,800.00, was given to the hospital.

Fund raising events were necessary to help supply these latest items of equipment. In addition to the old standbys, a Fashion Fantasia was held in the fall of 1973 and 1974 in the Port Hope High School in liaison with the Seven Seas Shop, Cobourg, which arranged for models wearing charming ensembles from the shop. In 1976 Vanishing Coffee Parties were revived. A new event, the Book Mart was introduced in 1977, selling used paperbacks and other books contributed by the citizens of Port Hope. It has been very successful financially. A draw for a Gourmet Dinner for six people was held in 1978 with two Auxilians preparing and serving the dinner in a private home.

The Auxiliary was host to the Fall Conference of District #7 held at the United Church Education Centre in 1977. In 1979 at the Fall Conference held in Oshawa, Mrs. A. H. Burch of the Port Hope Hospital Auxiliary was installed as Chairman of Region #7. Mrs. E. J. McKeever is secretary.

In June 1976 when the Canadian Union of Public Employees threatened to strike, the Auxiliary at the request of the Board had three members recruiting volunteers to work in various places. Fortunately the strike was averted.

Volunteer services of the Auxiliary in the hospital have increased since the reduction of the number of beds to 48 by the Ministry of Health in 1976. A cut in operating costs followed, making necessary a reduction in staff. In 1976 the hospital asked Auxiliary members to assist in feeding incapacitated patients. In January 1978 patient transportation by volunteers was started; Auxilians in their bright smocks now wheel patients to x-ray, laboratory or physiotherapy, deliver flowers and mail and help in many ways. After the switchboard was moved to the main office, due to reduced staff, volunteers began manning the reception desk during the busy hours. Those involved, have found, hospital volunteer work a very gratifying experience and it has been a substantial help to Board and staff. In September 1979 the Auxiliary was asked to recruit volunteers for a new therapy programme, sponsored by the hospital for out-patients. Under the supervision of a physiotherapist these volunteers are to assist out-patients using the therapeutic pool and whirlpool at the Community Sports Complex — another worthwhile service of the Auxiliary.

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