Charity and Donations

V.A.D. Hospitals relied on local and charitable support to operate. The people of Luton seemed only to keen to help raise money for Wardown V.A.D. Hospital, and there are ample reports of kindness and donations to the hospital and its patients.

The excellent equipment of the Operating Theatre, wards, and Recreation Room, were very largely the outcome of donations in kind or money from numerous well-wishers. Including, but not limited to Lady Wernher for the operating table and steam steriliser, to Mr. Fred Beecroft for the instrument cabinet and stand; Mr. F. E. Shoosmith for lotion bowls and stand; Mr A. E. Fisher for Ambulance stretcher; Mr. Keithley for the bagatelle table; the management of the Palace Theatre for merlin chair and stretcher: Mr. A. E. Cumberland and Mrs. G. Carruthers for merlin chairs; and to Mrs. Andrew Carruthers for the bath chair.

Besides the above, the hospital received frequent contributions of vegetables, fruit, groceries, eggs, and dairy produce, to say nothing of tobacco and cigarettes, and comforts of all kinds for the patients.

The staff remember, were mostly volunteers, and they were acknowledged with gratitude in an annual general meeting for "the cheerful and willing help afforded to us by the whole staff from the Commandants downwards, not forgetting the splendid labours of the Honorary Medical and Dental Staffs, the members of which, in spite of serious overwork occasioned by the absence of so many of their colleagues on active service, have given ungrudgingly so much of their time and attention to the Hospital."

Specialised skills were also donated by the community e.g. a Mr. Allen gave freely his time and skill in the capacity of Masseur, to the benefit and appreciation of patients and staff alike. Miss M. Parker filled temporarily the offices of Secretary and Quartermaster, and also organised such novel and interesting competitions for the patients. Mr. Percy Alien provided motor cars on numerous occasions for the transport of patients; and the management and employees of Messrs. George Kent. Ltd.. Commercial Cars Ltd., Skefko. Diamond Foundry,  Vauxhall Motors, and other firms for organised entertainments on behalf of the hospital.

The members of the Luton and District Master Hairdressers’ Association gave up their Sundays and Wednesdays to attend the patients free of all charge, and helped raise funds for the hospital by holding a whist drive. The membership of the Men’s Red Cross Sections 1 and 3 gave energetic services in window cleaning, orderly and night duty, and a Mr. Sidney Attwood provided mineral waters. A great number of ladies and gentlemen helped to entertain the patients by concerts, or other ways, either inside or outside the hospital.

The public ensured, due to their generosity, that the public the finances of the Hospital were in a satisfactory condition.

The Town Council of Luton let the hospital use Wardown Park rent free, and gave assistance in repairs and alterations, and for the provision of more adequate sanitation. The Parks Committee afforded the staff and patients special privileges; and Mr. A. E. Wray, of the Luton Tramways, provided free tram services for the patients to attend entertainments in town.

With the aid of so many generous gifts, and by the endeavours of the staff, Wardown became, one of the most efficient V.A.D. Hospitals in the county.