ABOUT 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for the new Townlands Hospital in Henley to
ABOUT 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for the new Townlands Hospital in Henley to be renamed after the town’s old War Memorial Hospital.
NHS Property Services is willing to consider calling the £10 million building “Townlands Memorial Hospital”.
The idea was first put forward by visitors to an exhibition to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War at the Old Fire Station Gallery in 2014.
Woodcote historian Mike Willoughby, who staged the exhibition as part of the Lest We Forget project, revived the idea following the hospital’s completion in February. He was supported by then Mayor Lorraine Hillier, John Green, chairman of the Henley and Peppard branch of the Royal British Legion, the branch’s standard bearer Brian Hughes, former Henley mayor Elizabeth Hodgkin and the Rev Duncan Carter, vicar of Holy Trinity Church.
Mr Willoughby said: “For them to put ‘memorial’ just acknowledges the old War Memorial Hospital,” he said. “Various people that we approached thought it was done and dusted and they couldn’t imagine anybody objecting to it.”
The original hospital was opened on June 3, 1923 as a memorial to those who died in the war. It was paid for with money raised from public subscriptions and cost £20,500. It closed in 1983 and was then demolished and the land sold.
Meanwhile, a new 9ft by 2ft 6in memorial plaque will be installed in the hospital’s gardens featuring the names of all the Henley men who lost their lives in the war.
Mr Willoughby said: “It contains the names of all 311 Henley men.”
The plaque will be paid for by Amber Infrastructure, which carried out the redevelopment of Townlands.
Three other plaques have been installed in the town hall, Holy Trinity Church and St Mary’s Church as part of Lest We Forget.