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A last look at Grantown's grand old community hospital


By Tom Ramage

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Last week's farewell to Grantown’s Ian Charles Hospital was ‘just too sad for many’, said the man who organised it.

FIT FOR DEVELOPMENT: The former Ian Charles Hospital at Grantown would be a good 'home' for staff wanting to work at the adjoining health centre, which is not only being retained for the community but extended.
FIT FOR DEVELOPMENT: The former Ian Charles Hospital at Grantown would be a good 'home' for staff wanting to work at the adjoining health centre, which is not only being retained for the community but extended.

Bill Sadler, of the Grantown Society, told the Strathy that the event was clearly going to be too emotional for some who had been invited, including several of those who had worked in the building over the years.

“We had a pretty good turnout overall, with some 50-60 people looking in for a chat, a non-alcoholic drink, a biscuit or two and a tour round the old place,” he said.

READ ALL ABOUT IT: Jim Leslie (left) is writing a book about the grand old hospital in the Strathspey capital. Jane Yeadon, a former nurse, already has written books on her professional days. They were welcomed to the drop-in sessions by Grantown Society's Bill Sadler.
READ ALL ABOUT IT: Jim Leslie (left) is writing a book about the grand old hospital in the Strathspey capital. Jane Yeadon, a former nurse, already has written books on her professional days. They were welcomed to the drop-in sessions by Grantown Society's Bill Sadler.

“Considering it was just two hours on each afternoon over Saturday and Sunday the numbers showed it was well worth staging the drop-in sessions, but many told me they just couldn’t face it, not feeling the way they did.”

The absentees apparently even included one or two of the former doctors who had done such a good job over the decades for the community.

“There is no denying that feelings are still a bit raw over the loss of Ian Charles,” Mr Sadler went on, having laid on a comprehensive exhibition of memorabilia and data, “while many naturally conceded that what was done was done and the community had to move on.

WEIGHING-IN: David Moir wondered how many babies had weighed in at the Ian Charles Hospital over the years...
WEIGHING-IN: David Moir wondered how many babies had weighed in at the Ian Charles Hospital over the years...

“I don’t think anyone is arguing that the new facility in Aviemore is very impressive.”

But the Strathy found that many were still far from convinced that Grantown’s purpose-built hospital had to go, and had not been considered worth adapting.

Other visitors took great consolation from the plan to at least retain and upgrade the GPs’ health centre by demolishing one section of the old building to allow for its timely extension.

....'Well, me for one!' said Graeme Stuart, who came into the world in the grand old hospital.
....'Well, me for one!' said Graeme Stuart, who came into the world in the grand old hospital.

Discussions are continuing over what now happens to the main part of the now vacant hospital – vacated by people.

The wards are currently still intact and they brought many a happy memory back to former nurse turned author Jane Yeadon, who was delighted to see copies of her books being dipped into by the visitors.

Mr Sadler and co amassed a huge collection of literature, pictures and cuttings on the Strathspey capital’s very own hospital.

“There are real hopes that any flats created may well be usable by new staff at the health centre,” said Mr Sadler.

“As the Strathy has reported at length, the biggest problem in the strath is the shortage of staff accommodation and it’s hoped that something can be done to assist the working of the extended surgery. Time will tell.”

A survey is also currently taking place in the town this week – its deadline has been extended to today (Sunday) – into the possible acquisition or leasing of a building in Grantown for future community use.

Meanwhile, those who missed the exhibition will be able to catch the show at the Grantown Library.


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