In May 1977, (World Rheumatism Year), an article appeared in the 'Evening Sentinel' which was to prove the first step towards the establishment of The Haywood Rheumatism Research and Development Foundation. In it, Dr. T. E. Hothersall, at that time, the only consultant rheumatologist in Staffordshire, was quoted as having said that the new facilities for the treatment of rheumatic diseases, promised when he came to the district in 1969, had failed to materialise. Plans to build a new Department for Rheumatology at the Haywood Hospital had been postponed, which would mean that the planned appointment of a second consultant would not take place, that physiotherapists would still have to treat up to 2,000 patients a year in cramped conditions, and that long-stay patients would still have to go to Buxton in Derbyshire for treatment. This meant, said Dr. Hothersall, that no new patients, except the most urgent of cases, could now be treated.
The consequences of that statement amazed everyone concerned. Patients and their friends wrote letters, signed petitions, and badgered their M.P.s. Dr. Hothersall wrote, in terms ranging from the vitriolic to the downright rude to the District, Area and Regional Health Authorities, and in calmer tones to M.P.s of every persuasion. Support came from local radio and local press. Questions were asked in the House, and by August 1977, the Staffordshire Area Health Authority had announced that the building of the new Department would go ahead as originally planned, subject to agreement by the West Midlands Regional Health Authority.
During that busy summer many offers of funds had been made by people who wanted to help, and it was decided to hold a meeting at the Outpatients Department of the Haywood Hospital on 22nd August 1977, with a view to establishing a Fund for Research and Development. The fund-raising then began in earnest, contributions coming in from efforts ranging from coffee mornings and sponsored walks to club concerts, and a collection of halfpennies by an enterprising Brownie Pack. Dr. Hothersall spent his evenings and lunchtimes in giving talks to interested groups on the subject of the Foundation and its aims. The staff of all departments at the Haywood set themselves a target of £1,000 to be raised by March 1978, and in the event handed over more than £4,200 from various efforts, including a charity football match between female staff and the Burslem and Tunstall Police, on what must have been the wettest day in February 1978. The generosity of North Staffordshire people was such that, by 12th April 1978, more than £9,000 had already been raised.
Also on 12th April the Haywood Rheumatism Research and Development Foundation had its official inception in the presence of Dr. John Ball, the President of the Heberden Society, the National Rheumatology organisation concerned with research. The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Stoke-on-Trent, and the Mayor and Mayoress of Newcastle-under-Lyme. It is worth noting that the President and Office-bearers of the Committee who welcomed their guests on that evening, Mr. F. Shepard-Johnson, Dr. T. E. Hothersall, Mr. W. H. Deakin, Mrs. A. Rowley and Mr. J. W. Robinson, were all still filling the same roles 15 years later, surely a most admirable demonstration of loyalty and commitment to the Foundation. The other members of that first Committee were; Mrs. M. Bailey, Mrs. E. J. Beswick, Mrs. S. Blood, Mr. W. Elliott, Mr. W. T. Evans, Dr. J. H. Gopal, Mrs. L. Hanwell, Miss I. Lewis. Dr. K. Pasi, Mr. F. Pointon, Mrs. M. Rimmington and Mr. J. D. Scholfield.
Acknowledgement must also be made of the great help and advice in setting up the Foundation given by the late Mr. J. S. Marshall and several other members of local Rotary Clubs.
But even as the Foundation was being established, the estimated cost of the Unit had increased from £660,000 to £1.2 million, and then in June 1978 the Regional Health Authority dropped a bombshell. They requested a planning review of all rehabilitation facilities in Staffordshire, querying whether the new unit should be built on a more central site at the North Staffs. Royal Infirmary. Public opinion, alerted to the fact that such a change would mean a delay to the start of building of several years, came at once to the rescue. A petition was signed by 9,000 patients, and, in August 1978, approval was finally given by the Area Health Authority for the new Staffordshire Rheumatology Centre to be built at the Haywood Hospital. Subsequently, the Regional Health Authority gave its approval in January 1979.
The members of the Foundation, having achieved their first objective in persuading the NHS to build and fund the new Rheumatology Unit, now turned their full attention to fund-raising for the research which would be carried out there. By mid 1979, the fund stood at £31,000, of which the hospital staff alone had had raised more than £12,100, and at the AGM in 1980 a total of £65,610 was announced. Fund-raising methods were many and varied and it seemed as if everyone in North Staffordshire was playing, running, swimming, performing, holding raffles, or just plain collecting for 'The Haywood'. People asked for donations rather than presents for their silver or golden weddings. People flocked in their thousands to the annual Garden Parties, and were kept up to date by the excellent coverage of local press and radio.
Meanwhile, back at the hospital, things were progressing slowly. The local planning committee finished its work in January 1979, but discovered in May that the Regional Health Authority had not yet put the work out to tender. Dr. Hothersall's claim that this would both cause delay and increase costs was unfortunately to prove correct, but after his strongly worded protest, things began to run more smoothly. In July 1979, a second consultant rheumatologist, Dr. M. F. Shadforth, took up his post, and, at last, in February 1980, the building work began. Half of the old maternity unit had to be demolished and no fewer than sixteen mine shafts had to be located and capped before work could begin on the foundations, but it was hoped that completion would take place in the autumn of 1981. Even more heartening news was that in the summer of 1980 research could begin, under the direction of Dr. Shadforth, in 'borrowed' accommodation at the North Staffordshire Medical Institute.
The next phase in the full establishment of the Foundation was the setting up of a Board of Trustees, which took place on 24th. September 1979. The first Trustees were Mr. A. P. Bell, Mr. J. Moffat, Mr. O. F. Phoenix and Mr. B. Senior. The main duty of the Trustees, who are quite independent of the Committee, is to take decisions on proposals for use of Foundation funds. 1979 also saw the establishment of local fund-raising committees. In Newcastle, this was begun by Mrs. M. Bennion and Mrs. M. Bailey, in Alsager by a group of patients who met at the home of Mrs. J. Peake, including Mrs. D. Butcher. In Congleton, funds were raised by Mrs. Annie Booth and her friends.
The Centenary of the Haywood and Tunstall Memorial Hospital and the golden jubilee of the present buildings took place with much celebration in 1980. Even greater celebration greeted the news in 1982 that, at long last, the new building was completed, and in May the new 'Staffordshire Centres for Rheumatology and Remedial Services' came into use. This first phase included consulting rooms, the physiotherapy department with a gymnasium and hydrotherapy pool, and workshops and an assessment flat for occupational therapy. A special concert was held at St. Werburgh's Church in High Lane, Burslem to mark the occasion and yet another staff donation was made, bringing the total raised so far by the efforts of the staff alone to £29,000.
This is perhaps a suitable point to speak of the immense part played by the staff of the Haywood from the moment fund-raising began. In 1977 they set themselves a target of £1,000, raised it in a quarter of the expected time, and after that they dispensed with targets. The nursing staff, under Sisters Proudman, Sayer, Bloomer and Street, and the Physiotherapy staff led by their Superintendent Mrs. Beswick, did not simply collect money. They had to work hard for it, taking part in football matches and tugs of war, and in Sister Bloomer's case, making thousands of pounds worth of soft toys. They also took part in an extremely wet Burslem Festival in 1979 and again in 1983 (when they won a prize for the best float in the charities section). Mrs. Beswick also took on the task of Membership Secretary of the Foundation, whose Hon. Secretary, Mrs. Rowley, was also a member of staff.
There was great excitement when it was learned that the new Centres were to be officially opened by H.R.H. The Duchess of Kent on March 1st 1983. The Duchess, who, as Patron of the Arthritis and Rheumatism Council, had a great knowledge of and interest in rheumatic diseases and research into them, impressed all those present when she spoke, at the opening ceremony, of the pain experienced by sufferers, and the hope that the new unit would bring.
Now that the new unit was a reality, far from resting on their laurels, the members of the Foundation resumed fund-raising with as much vigour as ever. By 1982, almost £200,000 had been raised by the generous people of North Staffordshire taking the target up to half a million! By 1984, when the conversion of part of the former maternity unit into research laboratories and offices was completed, almost £400,000 had been raised, sufficient to generate enough income to pay for the initial research staff. The Foundation had previously been funding research in the borrowed facilities at the Medical Institute. Now, at last, research would take place at the Haywood. The new Department was officially opened by Mr. F. Shepard Johnson C.B.E., the President of the Foundation, on April 9th1984. An Open Day was held to show everyone what their fund-raising had achieved. The fund-raising continued. Generous people were sponsored to run in marathons and fun-runs, played netball and washed cars, held auctions and organised wrestling matches, and showed no sign of stopping, or losing their enthusiasm.
The half million pound mark was reached in 1986, and by 1991 the first million pounds had been raised --- a huge milestone for the Foundation and a figure far beyond the dreams of 14 years before. At this stage there was a staff of seven at work in the research laboratories at the Haywood, their salaries all paid by the Foundation, so there was no resting on laurels. The fund-raising went on. Between those two dates much else had happened at the Haywood.
In 1987, a third consultant rheumatologist, Dr. P. T. Dawes, was appointed, and in 1988, Dr. P. D. Fowler was appointed as Associate Specialist. 1989 saw the appointment of Dr. A. B. Ward as consultant in rehabilitation medicine, and also the building of an additional rheumatology ward, providing extra beds. Thanks to the expertise of Dr. Shadforth, the Rheumatology Centre was also leading the way in the use of computers in medicine. A drug monitoring system, designed by Dr. Shadforth, was already in use when, in 1988, a new computer was bought, at a cost of £36,000, to which £10,000 was contributed by the Foundation. This would cover areas such as physiotherapy, x-ray and occupational therapy, and consolidate the position of the Centre in clinical computing.
By 1991 the Rheumatology Department had a Medical staff of three consultants, one associate specialist, one senior registrar, one registrar, one senior house officer and four clinical assistants. Nursing staff numbered 31, Physiotherapy 35 and Occupational Therapy staff 12. (The Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Departments also served all other specialties in the Northern area of the city). In April of that year new ground was broken with the opening of a Sports Injury Clinic on two evenings a week to provide treatment and advice from physiotherapists and medical staff who gave their services voluntarily. The Clinic was the brainchild of the hospital's Superintendent Physiotherapist, Mrs. E. J. Beswick, a founder member of the committee.
The 15th anniversary of the Haywood Foundation was celebrated in 1992 with a dinner dance attended by Dr. M. Snaith M.D. F.R.C.P., President of the British Society for Rheumatology, and by the Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent and the Mayor of Newcastle-under-Lyme. Later in the same year an Open Day was held, again attended by the local Civic Heads, and by many other interested visitors. An anniversary booklet, charting the progress of the Charity since its beginning was published and distributed at the expense of the late Mrs. M. Connor, then a member of the committee. The fund-raising, of course, continued, with events as varied as a Race Night and a Floral Art Demonstration, while donations came in from a fishing contest and a performance of 'Songs from the Shows', not to mention the many coffee mornings, Garden Fetes and Jumble Sales. In 1993 the committee began to run a stall in the Outpatient Department on two mornings a week, selling a wide range of items. This provided both an opportunity for normally housebound patients to do their own shopping and a good source of funds. It was the successor to the small sales table in the Physiotherapy Department which had been run there informally by Superintendent Physiotherapist Evelyn Beswick from the beginning, and which gradually took the place of the outdoor stalls previously set up at local Carnivals. In the same year two long-serving members of the committee, Mr. Bill Parry and Miss Thelma Barnes, retired after many years of helping with publicity through their connections with the 'Evening Sentinel'. A year later they were followed by the Treasurer, Mr. Jim Robinson, when, on his retirement, he moved away from the area. He was succeeded by an equally committed and hard working Treasurer in Mr. John Salmon.
1984 saw the building of an extension to the Research Department, funded by the Foundation, to provide facilities for blood tests and drug monitoring and research, and two extra offices for staff. Also in 1994 a Community Rheumatologist, Dr. Elaine Hay, was appointed to the staff. Grants continued to be made to members of staff to assist them to attend important courses and meetings, such as that year's International Symposium for Health Professionals in Rheumatology in Norway. Those receiving a grant for such a purpose are always expected to produce a report for the committee on their return. 1995 was a busy year. On the fundraising side a new venture began with the collection of waste paper in a skip sited beside the car park. This continued until 2005, bringing in a small but steady income. In March the Foundation shared in the proceeds from a Concert by Biddulph Male Voice Choir and the Band of the Welsh Guards. In May a Presentation was made by the staff to the Committee and Trustees on the work currently being undertaken in the Department. In 1995 a very important occasion took place when the Chairman, Dr. Hothersall, was honoured for his work in Rheumatology by the award of the Heberden Medal by the British Society for Rheumatology. The Medal was presented at the end of a three-day Conference at Keele University attended by Rheumatologists from all over the world, including many who had been trained at the Haywood. In his address Dr. Hothersall praised the Foundation for its role in the establishment and running of the Rheumatology Centre. The year ended sadly, however, with the death of Committee member Miss Margaret Barnes. Known, to her amusement, by the patients as 'The Jam Lady', she had raised well over £1000 from the sale of her home-made preserves on the stall.
More changes took place on the Committee took place in 1996, when Mr. Harry Deakin, the first Vice-Chairman, and Mrs. Freda Ellams both stood down. Both still continue to support the Foundation as much as possible, and it was Harry who designed the decoration, depicting the Rheumatology Unit, for the china beakers and dishes sold on the stall. There was sad news of another death in the same year, that of the President, Mr. H. Shepard Johnson, whose strong support over the previous 19 years had been greatly appreciated. It was considered most important to find a similarly respected local figure to succeed him and eventually an excellent new President was found in Mr. Patrick Wenger, who took office in 2000. Also in 1996 Dr. Andrew Hassell returned to the staff as Senior Lecturer and Consultant, with responsibility for postgraduate education. At the same time Dr. Adrian Farrell was appointed Consultant at Crewe with sessions at the Haywood Hospital. That year, instead of a presentation, the staff prepared for the Committee and Trustees a very full written report on 'Clinical and Scientific Research, Service Development and Education.'
In 1997 an arthroscopy service was introduced, using an arthroscope paid for by the Foundation and operated by Research Registrar, Dr. Mark Layton. The highlight of that year however, was the donation by the Foundation of a Dexa Scanner, at the cost of £89,500. This is a machine which is used to detect and measure the degree of osteoporosis in those considered at risk of developing the disease and very many patients have benefited from its use since it was installed at the Haywood Hospital. At the end of the same year, Mrs Pat Grimsley, wife of the Vice-Chairman, Mr Dennis Grimsley, was presented with a Certificate by the Rotary Club of Biddulph to mark her 'Outstanding Contribution to Service in the Community'. Mrs Grimsley, who used a wheelchair and whose hands were totally disabled by Rheumatoid Arthritis, had by that point raised more than £10,000 for the Foundation from the sale of her paintings in oils and her dried flower arrangements. Later, when increasing disability prevented her from painting, she turned to 'writing' by means of a voice-activated computer and began to write the story of her struggle with the disease, which she hoped to publish, again for the benefit of the Foundation.
Our 21st Birthday was celebrated in June 1998, with a well attended if rather wet Garden Party, after which the Committee dried out with a social evening at 'The George' in Burslem. More importantly, also in that year, support for a five-year research programme was approved, the Foundation undertaking to provide some £73,000 in the first year, rising to almost £83,000 in the fifth. In 1999 Dr. Hothersall retired from the hospital staff but not from the Committee. In the local press and in the many speeches made at that time much was said about his fight to establish the now internationally acclaimed Rheumatology Centre at the Haywood, and about the role played by the Haywood Foundation. The close day-to-day links with the hospital which he had provided continued through the presence on the Committee of Drs. Dawes and Hassell, Sister Ann Brownfield and Dr Sarah Ryan, who was, in 2000, appointed the first Nurse Consultant in Rheumatology in the U.K.
The Millennium was marked at the hospital by a Garden Party in which the Foundation played its part, and another full Report and Research Presentation was given by the staff to the Committee and Trustees. At this time it was felt that both the logo and the explanatory leaflet given to new members required updating, and a sub-committee was set up, reporting its suggestions in July. It was also proposed that the Foundation contribute a section to the Haywood website. At the President's suggestion, professional advice was sought concerning the new logo and, after much discussion and amendment, it and the slogan 'The Haywood Foundation Fighting Arthritis', were approved. These were used for the first time in 2001 in publicity material for a Concert for the Foundation by the Macclesfield Silk Band. By this time, encouraged by the President, the Committee had made the decision to increase its commitment to education in Rheumatology, while continuing to support Research as much as before. This would mean a very big commitment, especially given the financial situation following the attack on New York in September 2001. It was agreed that for the first time professional help would be sought for fundraising and raising the profile of the Foundation. However after a time this proved unsatisfactory and fundraising continued on a purely voluntary basis. It had always been a proud boast that unlike other large charities, the Foundation spent less than 1% of its funds on running costs. Since the Charity Commission's insistence on paid Brokers and Auditors being used, this percentage is now inevitably higher.
In 2002 Mrs. Iris Barker retired from long service on the committee but generously continued to help 'man' the stall in Outpatients until it closed. A Silver Jubilee Garden Party in September 2002 helped launch a specific fundraising appeal for an Education Centre to be built at the Haywood site where a multi-million pound development of the hospital complex was planned. Initially designed to be funded by the NHS this was eventually undertaken as a Private finance Initiative (P.F.I.). This immediately led to problems since it was made clear that the PFI building would have to be completed before the Education Centre could be built by the Foundation. The magnificent new hospital was up and running in 2009, unfortunately the Education Centre did not go ahead.
In 2005 Dr Hothersall stood down as Chairman, though remaining on the committee, and was succeeded by Dr. Andrew Hassell. Subsequent fundraising events included a 'Big Bike Ride' in 2005, an Autumn Charity Ball in 2006 and a Gala Variety Evening in 2008. In 2007, the book written by Mrs Grimsley was published privately by her husband after her death in the previous year. Entitled 'A Tug of War' it described her fight, from the age of 28, against her enemy, 'Arthur Itis'. It was very well received and sold extremely well, a fitting memorial to a very brave lady. Two Foundation Education Bursaries have been established in Mrs. Grimsley's name.
President Patrick Wenger stood down in 2007 and was succeeded by Mr. Mike Worthington on his retirement from the Board of Trustees. Other long-serving and loyal members of the committee who retired in that year included Vice-chairman Dennis Grimsley, Treasurer John Salmon and Evelyn and Derek Beswick. As people retired, new members replaced them, equally committed to the aims of the Foundation.
We were sorry to see the demise, in Summer 2009, of the stall in the Outpatients Department. Recruitment of salespeople had not kept up with the rate of retirements, and now that the new hospital was almost completed it seemed time for a change. Described once by Dr. Hothersall as the 'Retail Therapy Department' it rose well over £50,000 in its 16 year existence, and formed a very useful link with patients. The prime mover in the running of the stall from the beginning was Mrs. Dot Butcher, whose experience was invaluable and who, with Mrs. Betty Evanson, organised everything. The rest of the ladies had merely to arrive! So efficient a saleslady was Mrs. Butcher that a patient gave her the nickname of 'Auntie Wainwright' (from 'Last of the Summer Wine' on TV). Unfortunately Mrs. Butcher, a patient herself for many years, had to retire because of ill health but Mrs. Evanson continued until the stall closed, and she and her husband Bill now carry on the good work of selling donated goods on e-bay.
Links with patients are continuing in other ways, through Nurse Consultant Sarah Ryan who is the Patients' Representative on the committee. A grant for promotional materials was made to the local ARMA branch which meets at the Haywood.
Keele University now has a thriving Medical School and is undertaking Arthritis Research with financial support of Arthritis UK (ARUK), building on the work of the Haywood 'Foundation'. Like every other charity the Foundation suffered from the drop in interest rates during the recession which seriously affected its investments, and also from the recent severe downturn in the economy. However the people of North Staffs continue to be generous, even after death, since much has been donated over the years in the form of bequests. At the start of the second decade of the second millennium we have a flourishing Foundation and hope for the future for the fight against Arthritis in North Staffordshire.