Hospital history recalled

Inverbervie & District Probus Club met on October 16 in the Crown Hotel. President John Gillespie welcomed one guest and 22 members. John Mackenzie introduced the speaker - Iain Rae from Edzell. A Member of Brechin Probus, Iain brought fraternal greetings from his Club.

An Accountant by profession and ex-RAF, Iain finally entered Hospital Administration and eventually became involved with Sunnyside and Montrose Infirmaries and Charleton Maternity Hospital.

Of the 665 beds in Sunnyside and 40 at Montrose (and more at Charleton), only Montrose remains, although there is a ‘state-of-the art’ unit at Stracathro with 100 beds. The patients from the closed hospitals are now accommodated in Care Homes, Old People’s Homes, etc. On balance, Iain feels that better Government funding could have improved the lot of many vulnerable people, especially those who have been institutionalised for nearly a lifetime. however that is not his decision.

The Stracathro unit carries the name of Susan Carnegie who founded the original hospital at Hillside over 200 years ago - what a legacy!

The 200 Year Celebrations were attended by Princess Alexandra and the Hon. Angus Ogilvy. There were some very interesting tales about patients, and it was sad to hear that from the 1980s all patient employment at the hospital was stopped. This had given a lot of people something to do and supplied them with pocket money which afforded them all a degree of satisfaction and pride. A famous patient was a sculptor known as ‘The Gentle Shetlander’, whose story is told by Ken Keddie. The tools he used were builders’ nails - and the results were publicly exhibited. There is a plaque by him built into a perimeter wall at Sunnyside commemorating a visit by Robert Burns.