Friday, 16 October 2015

Sully- a doctor's "chance remark"

“Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.”


It was a chance remark by a young doctor at Sully that got me back into the educational system.

After six months in Sully I was sent to Pinewood Student Rehabilitation centre, in Berkshire for three months from August-December 1960.

I went on to become a journalist, unlike so many young people of my age and background I had not slipped through the educational net .

About Pinewood Student Rehabilitation centre. Wokingham, Berkshire

This was set up in 1952 to enable students to continue with their studies while they still received treatment for TB.

Technically it was for full time university students or lecturers but they had provision for people who did not fulfil these criteria like myself who was six months short of becoming a full time student. I had already been accepted at teachers training college in Bristol providing I had a clear x-ray, which of course I hadn’t.

The Health Year Book 1955 explains: “The British University does not make freedom from tuberculosis a condition of acceptance.  The student is x-rayed after he has been awarded a place and, if found to be tuberculous, can then submit himself for treatment confident in knowing that he can return to his studies when he is fit and well again.

Medical treatment of the tuberculous student is the same as that of any other young patient.  Socially, however, there is one great difference.
 A student can do useful work while still under treatment.  Ever since 1930 student organizations in England have been trying to start an institution where tuberculosis students could continue with their studies.

In 1952 a 16-bed Rehabilitation Unit was established at Pinewood Hospital in Berkshire, but at the time of this report (1955) 88 students were in residence at this institution. 
The teaching sessions consist of a combination of lecture and tutorial efforts.”

For students Pinewood provided a life-line, one that we grabbed with both hands.

Now, half  century later , I was delighted to be  contacted by Anne Morgan earlier this year, a member of a local Heritage group formed with aim of reconstructing the history of Pinewood hospital.
I emailed her:
`’I cannot praise Pinewood Hospital Students Rehabilitation Centre enough.  It turned my life around.  And it was only a chance remark by a young doctor in Sully who said he had heard of it that enabled me to get back into the educational system. “

And Anne replied:
“The fact you stated Pinewood turned your life around was just the boost we all needed as we are very much aware from all the interviews the group has done that the hospital was a unique place.

We are a small group of local born people who remember Pinewood as a very happy caring place to work, were all sad to see the closure and as there are so many charities and clubs that still use the old wards we want to record the atmosphere that has remained on the site that is now left and the time also of people who were patients, worked or have family memories of the Hospital.There are currently over Thirty groups who use the buildings and land weekly, from scouts, judo, boxing, dancing, gymnastics, preschool, railway, and lots more. The Heritage group was formed about 4 years ago and we have been gathering information back to the building of the Sanatorium.”

So the history of Pinewood Student Rehabilitation Centre , an innovative, unque educational/ medical project is  about to be written – by a group of volunteers.

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