This year's charity


Our chosen charity for this year is Erskine who have been providing care for over a century, it started life as the Princess Louise Scottish Hospital for Limbless Sailors and Soldiers in 1916.

The story of this institution, which was set up by the people of Scotland to care for their wounded servicemen is an inspiration to us all. Erskine House (a manor house) and its grounds were generously offered by Thomson Aikmam for the duration of the Great War and twelve months thereafter. This was later bought for the hospital by Sir John Reid and became the home for many survivors who had lost limbs during the conflict. As the carnage on the battlefield continued, the two hospitals specialising in the treatment of amputees were overwhelmed by 1915. So, Sir William Macewen, the professor of surgery at Glasgow University was appointed to establish a new hospital dedicated to treat those returning with missing limbs. Astonishingly, patternmakers (who worked in wood) from the various shipyards on the Clyde produced the artificial limbs for the hospital and set new standards in the quality of their prosthetics, which were described as masterpieces in lightness and simplicity.

Five years after the end of the Great War, Erskine, while still operating as a charity, faced a new challenge...tuberculosis brought on by war service. With the outbreak of the Second World War, their work continued with new casualties while still caring for ailing veterans from the Great War. The hospital also cared for civilians injured during the Blitz in the West of Scotland. During this period, the charity started a new phase and began build ing cottages in the grounds of Erskine House for war pensioners and their families, all of which were funded by donations. Although new buildings, including a gym, wards and nurses’ quarters had been added by 1946, it was obvious that further development was required.

With the advent of the National Health service, it was unsure whether this hospital, that was funded totally by donations would be transferred to the NHS, but in March 1948, it was decided Erskine hospital would remain independent. By 1978, running costs had reached £1 million/year, by the 1990’s, with better services being provided by the NHS and other charities the original concept of the hospital had changed. Erskine’s main task now focused on providing elderly care rather than hospital treatment, the old manor house, which had done sterling service for 75 years was sold off and became the five-star Mar Hall Hotel. The Erskine 2000 initiative included the building of the Erskine Home for 180 residents on the Bishopton estate. A second new home, Erskine Main was opened in Erskine for 34 residents and a third, Erskine Edinburgh which was opened in 2002, provides nursing and dementia care for another 88 residents.

Sadly, since the end of the Second World War, our forces still serve in conflicts... The Greek civil war, The Malayan Emergency, The Korean War, The Mau Mau Uprising, Cypriot Independence, The Suez Crisis, The Brunei Revolt, The Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation, The Dhofar Rebellion, Aden, Northern Ireland, The Falklands War, Gulf War1, The Yugoslav Wars, Bosnia, Kosovo, Gulf War 2, Afghanistan. Our veterans need your help....

Erskine are committed to meet the needs of injured service personnel who receive treatment from the NHS but require accommodation and emotional support to make a full recovery.

Help us to help them by joining in with our fundraising activities.