Monday, September 10, 2007

Patients Reunion - Sunday

Well, it was a fantastic success! everyone seemed to enjoy it . We reckon around 110-120 people turned up. We had two sittings for the carvery.Initially we thought this would not be such a good idea because we wanted everybody to sit together but it turned out to be the best solution because while one group had their lunch the other group were abale to go on guided tours around the castle with Len Ley, the resident Craig-y-nos historian.

The Castle did us proud, going out of their way to provide a first -class service and the food was delicious, well above the standard Sunday carvery. So, a big thank you to all the staff for making our day such a success.

The first in was Mary Davies from Rhayader, above Brecon, she had driven nearly 60 miles to get to Craig-y-nos, her first visit back. She was alone. And yes there were tears at first. It is Mary with her teddy-bear that appeared in the South Wales Evening Post on Thursday. And it is Mary , who was there during the mid 1950's who went on to have a bungalow built and called it"Craig-y-nos".

This led to some confusion when Mary booked a place at the carvery . She was asked her name then her address. She said "Craig-y-nos" and the hotel receptionist said:" No, not our address your address" and Mary repeated it:"My address is Craig-y-nos".

There are so many stories to tell that I can only skim the surface today before I head back to Scotland.
Star of the day was of course Nurse Glenys Davies now in her 80's and looking very well in an emerald green suit.

She was presented with a bouquet by Mary Watkins from Talgarth whom Glenys had told me about having been at death's door when she came into Craig-y-nos and was saved at the 11th hour by streptomycin.

Dr Williams daughter Mary Sutton-Coulson was there and she met the two girls Christine Bennett and Beryl Rowlands, who used to ride her ponies while she was away in boarding school.

One of the most touching tales of yesterday, and there wre lots and lots, was that of Winnie now in her mid-80s who had been placed in Craig-y-nos as a 9 month old baby and didnt get out until she was six years of age. She remembers having her cot wheeled outside into the open if she was naughty , sometimes all night. Unlike the balconies which had a roof on to protect the patients from the elements the very young children in the Glass Conservatory were simply wheeled outside. It was used for both the "fresh air" treatment and as punishment.

Her mother was only able to visit her twice a year because the family were "on the parish" and they would only pay for two visits a year.

Dr Gwyn Thomas, a retired consultant now living in Norfolk who was a patient in Craig-y-nos during the early 1940s was there too. He recalled how he was also a diptheria carrier at the time too and was moved to another isolation hospital. His parents were forbidden to make any contact with him and the only way they knew if he was alive or dead was to check the list in the local paper of children who had died.

Lots of photos were taken and over the next few days I will be putting them up on this blog when I get back to Scotland. Meanwhile here are two that June Harris from the Sleeping Giant Foundation took. She had planned to take more only the power in her digital camera suddenly went even though her camera had only just been recharged Another woman who had taken lots of photos at the Reunion found that when she checked her camera was empty.

( I had a similar experience last week when we spent a night in the Skirrid Inn, the most haunted pub in Britain ).

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