Hospital Club’s sad demise will support good causes

The loss of one much-loved local institution has happily helped to support another much-loved Louth favourite.

Hubbard’s Hills Trust Secretary Jill Makinson-Sanders was delighted to receive a generous cheque from Mrs June Lyall of the Louth Hospital Club.

The Louth Hospital Club unfortunately had to close in late 2020 after a catastrophic fire a year earlier, followed by uncertainties about ownership. There were funds left when the club closed and these have now been distributed to community organisations in the town.

The Hubbards Hills Trust was one of the beneficiaries, and June Lyall recently met up with Trust Secretary Jill Makinson-Sanders to donate a generous cheque.

The money will be ring-fenced to buy more trees for the St Herefrith Plantation at the foot of Fisher’s Hill.

The Trust has already planted 150 trees in this area, which has been cleared by volunteers.

The money will be used, starting in the spring, to add to a mixture of semi mature beech, oak, field maple and rowan, and planting will continue later in the year.

Louth born and bred, Mrs Lyall has fond memories of the Hills throughout her life, and she recently planted two commemorative trees there.

She has also had a long and happy association with the Louth Hospital Club, and ran it for many years.

In the ‘good old days’, the club was a hive of activities, with dominoes on Mondays and darts on a Thursday, plus a music night on Saturdays.

Members of staff put on pantomimes, there were exercise and dance classes, the WI met there, and health Trust meetings were held in the hall and committee rooms.

Over £20,000 was invested in tables and chairs at the venue, and a disabled friendly entrance was put in by the club, so it was one of the few large rooms in Louth with wheelchair access and toilets.

The bar was a favourite meeting place, but a fire in the cooler spelled the end of the Hospital Club and it is now expected to be demolished.

Mrs Lyall and two fellow members of the club, Dean Laking and Pete Selby, set about deciding how to distribute the remaining club funds and a number of community based charities have benefitted, including the Lighthouse Group at Louth Methodist Church supporting vulnerable people in Louth; ECHO, helping the East Coast’s homeless; Louth Hospital League of Friends and Archer Ward; Ark Animal Rescue; Lincolnshire Emergency Services; L-CAT, giving practical support in emergencies; the Lincolnshire Air Ambulance; Macmillan Nurses; the Salvation Army; and the Priory Hotel’s ‘Neighbours’ Kitchen’, which has been providing nutritious meals during the pandemic.