Hospital café opens in tribute to community hero

Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire William Tucker opened the caf� alongside Stephens parents, and the Ilkeston Community Hospital League of Friends.
Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire William Tucker opened the caf� alongside Stephens parents, and the Ilkeston Community Hospital League of Friends.

The café and remodelled waiting area at Ilkeston Community Hospital have been formally opened with a touching tribute to a community hero.

The hospital’s League of Friends group staged an opening ceremony for Smiley’s Café on Thursday, April 20.

Stephens parents Linda and Peter Harrison with his sister Sharon.

Stephens parents Linda and Peter Harrison with his sister Sharon.

Among the VIP guests were Peter and Linda Harrison of Cotmanhay, whose son Stephen was the inspiration for the transformed café.

A large bequest from the Harrisons to the Friends helped fund the refurbishments, and the name Smiley’s is a tribute to Stephen’s sunny nature.

Prem Singh, chairman of Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Many people have been involved in this project and this celebration is a chance to thank everyone involved.

“We owe huge gratitude to Stephen’s family for helping to create this lovely café.”

Prem Singh, chair of Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, thanked everyone involved in the project.

Prem Singh, chair of Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, thanked everyone involved in the project.

Stephen was born with cerebral palsy and in his later years also developed multiple sclerosis. He died three years ago at the age of 53.

His positive outlook and cheerful personality helped him achieve much despite his considerable health difficulties.

His career had numerous chapters taking him across Ilkeston, and he was a Scout leader for 15 years and a keen photographer.

During the ceremony, Peter and Linda unveiled a memory corner and photo mural on the wall produced by Ilkeston company Motif Ltd.

Prem said: “The photos of Stephen in the Memory Corner place him back in the midst of the local community he so loved and was such an active part of during his life.”

Among the other VIPs at the ceremony were Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire William Tucker, Mayor of Erewash Councillor Abey Stevenson and Friends’ president Mike Perry and chair Eileen Knight.

As well as the new café, the hospital’s main entrance and outpatient reception area has been revamped to include a shop run by the Friends and improve facilities for patients and visitors. The total cost of the work was £172,000.