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Hospital founder's ancestor joins fight

PUBLISHED: 22:31 21 June 2005 | UPDATED: 05:56 02 March 2010

CHARLES Croydon would turn in his grave today if he knew the hospital he built and gave to Felixstowe as a gift was facing closure to save money.

Gillian Ib said her great-grandfather had built the General Hospital in memory of a friend who died because he could not be transported to Ipswich Hospital in time to save his life.

CHARLES Croydon would turn in his grave today if he knew the hospital he built and gave to Felixstowe as a gift was facing closure to save money.

Gillian Ib said her great-grandfather had built the General Hospital in memory of a friend who died because he could not be transported to Ipswich Hospital in time to save his life.

One of the main reasons campaigners desperately want to save the hospital is so people from the resort do not have to keep travelling to Ipswich for clinics and treatment which they should be able to have on their own doorstep.

Hundreds of people are already signing the Evening Star's petition to save the hospital – and tonight we print another copy of the form for readers to let their voice be heard on this vital issue.

Mrs Ib, who has joined the campaign to keep the Felixstowe General open, said: "My great-grandfather gave his home to build this hospital for Felixstowe – he would turn in his grave if he could hear what was going on now.

"He would be absolutely devastated. It's not even been open 100 years yet.

"We have got to find a way to keep it open – if it closes we will never get it back again."

Mrs Ib, of Aldeburgh, said the family had been researching through Mr Croydon's will and papers to see if there were covenants on the land or legal reasons to prevent the hospital being closed or its land sold.

Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer said it was not a sensible system to have lots of people from Felixstowe going up the A14 by car or bus, or by train to Ipswich, for hospital appointments.

"By providing the clinics nearer to the people who need them, you have sustainable development," he said.

"It's not sustainable for everyone to go from Felixstowe to Ipswich, but it is sustainable for a small number of people to come from Ipswich to Felixstowe to run clinics and the like."

Felixstowe General, originally known as the Cottage Hospital, was built in Constable Road in 1910 by Mr Croydon at his own expense in his garden.

He gave the building and land to six trustees to manage as a charitable gift to provide "medical and surgical advice to the poor" of Felixstowe, Walton and the surrounding area. It originally had just ten beds.

Two years later he transferred to the trustees a further piece of land and a bungalow on the site.

During the first world war it proved invaluable to the army and air force, especially as the hospital had x-ray equipment. The forces later gave substantial grants as a thank you and a new wing was built, the first of many extensions over the next few decades as the hospital was improved.


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