At a well attended and enjoyable meeting held at The Presentation Convent in Matlock members of The League appreciated a wonderful talk by Andrew Pugh MBE on his life, entitled "Reach for the Heights".  It covered his development of the Heights of Abraham and subsequent cable car systems all over the world.  He also looked forward to further developments on Masson Hill.

Diana Dakin, Chair of The League, had earlier welcomed Mark Todd, Chairman of Derbyshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) and Tracy Allen, Chief Executive of Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust and thanked all members for their attendance and continued support.

She expressed her great disappointment in the decision to close Darley Birth Centre and the consequent loss to a local rural community.  The year had been a stressful and busy time and she was grateful for the commitment and extensive hard work of the committee.

Diana was delighted to report that member Robert Young had become the third committee member following Pam Wildgoose and David Allen to receive the Award Of The League Of Mercy for outstanding voluntary work.  In addition to The League, Robert supports the Alzheimer's Society.  The Investiture will take place at the London Guildhall in June.

The Chair was sorry to report that Sue Sunderland had been unable to continue as Treasurer, was grateful to Mary MacDonald for temporarily filling in and welcomed Brian Wood to the position. Finally she thanked the Sisters for their hospitality and providing the venue for the AGM.

Pam Wildgoose, League Secretary, stressed it was the busiest year for a long time and detailed the involvement in meetings with many committees and groups that had an interest in Darley Birth Centre or were investigating the process of closure.  The Matlock Mercury instigated the "Don't Ditch Darley" campaign and presented over 3000 signatures in support of Darley to the PCT.  Sadly all the work was to no avail and the much appreciated Birth Centre will close at the end of June 2012.

On a happier note, The League upgraded Bay 1 of Birchover Ward at The Whitworth Hospital by removing partitions which obstructed light, restricted nurses' and patients' views of each other and made confined cubicles.  The bay was completely altered with new privacy curtains, re-decoration, new previously bought furniture and en-suite facilities at a cost of over £10,000.

New furniture was bought for the conservatory for the ward's 25th birthday.  A Delta chair was purchased for patients lacking mobility and requiring a change of position and a rotunda for turning upright patients.  Additionally, a mattress for the patient trolley in the Minor Injuries Unit and a television for the main reception area were provided.

Orchard Cottage, a centre in Darley Dale for adults with learning difficulties, was provided with a new dishwasher and it was agreed to provide a shower trolley.  All departments received monies for Christmas activities and patient presents.

Pam went on to thank all the NHS staff for their help and liaison with The League and said that "it is the commitment of all the staff which provides the safe, friendly and much appreciated atmosphere".  Pam was very grateful for all the help and support given by members, individuals and groups and particularly for legacies which help The League to improve facilities.  She said "the League is completely reliant on the goodwill of the local community and it is the local population who have made the hospital into a thriving, patient-orientated and comprehensive service".  

She further confirmed that The League will do everything possible to help this continue and revealed the outline plans for the reconfiguration of The Whitworth Hospital during the next two years.  The League has already promised substantial sums to provide extra facilities for both in-patients and out-patients.

New Treasurer Brian Wood reported on a healthy financial balance and outlined ideas for Gift Aid and Standing Orders for subscriptions and thanked Richard Tarbutt for auditing the accounts.

Tracy Allen, Chief Executive of the Trust that operates Whitworth hospital, thanked The League for all the help given, which was greatly appreciated by them and the local community.

The Chair closed the meeting by thanking Mr Pugh for his interesting and entertaining talk and everyone enjoyed the excellent refreshments..