Since 1955, The League of Friends of the Winchester Hospital, better known as The Friends of the Royal Hampshire County Hospital ("The Friends of RHCH") has valiantly raised over £2,000,000 to help the hospital in Winchester.

As NHS services in the area have evolved, particularly in light of the 2012 integration of Basingstoke and North Hampshire NHS Foundation Trust and Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare Trust, it now makes sense to centralise the fund raising activities of The Friends of RHCH with The Hampshire Medical Fund, which raises charitable funds for all three Hampshire hospitals of Basingstoke, Winchester and Andover.

In order to capture any future legacies for the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, The Friends of RHCH will continue as a legal entity at The Charities Commission, but its fundraising activities will pass seamlessly to the fundraising team at the Hampshire Medical Fund.

Indeed, already this year, the RHCH has hugely benefited from an emergency fund raising campaign organised by The Hampshire Medical Fund, called The Dig Deep campaign, which has brought in more than £1m since March.

"I would personally like to recognise the fabulous efforts of all the committed Friends’ volunteers. They have shown enduring passion and loyalty to their local hospital for decades, and I know that The Hampshire Medical Fund team are dedicated to continuing this marvellous legacy." Alex Whitfield, chief executive, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Former President of The Friends, and now a Trustee of the trust under a revised constitution, Mike Gretton, comments, "I would like to thank all the many Friends for their decades of contribution, in all sorts of capacity, and in particular to those who have held positions of responsibility as Trustees and as Chairman, as well as those who were regular attendees at our meetings." The Friends Treasurer for the past 20 years, Patrick Piper, who is well known in the local community, will remain a Trustee. Henrietta Mason joins as a new Trustee.