One of Ilkeston’s best loved facilities has reached a milestone birthday this month.
Ilkeston Community Hospital has been in the news a lot during this, its 25th year, although not always for the best reasons.
As the hospital looks set to lose one of its two wards and prepares to lose the walk-in centre and GP surgery on the same site, we take a look back to when it opened a quarter of a century ago.
Never far from the news herself, Princess Diana officially opened the Heanor Road hospital on December 10, 1987.
Julie Crouch, now editor of our sister paper The Ripley and Heanor News, was a reporter for the ‘Tiser at the time.
“She met the crowds of hundreds on the Market Place, which is, I think where this photograph was taken, as she headed to the Regency Rooms for lunch,” she recalled.
“The rooms were renamed afterwards as the Royal Regency Rooms.
“She was hugely popular wherever she went and took time to shake hands and chat extensively with the adoring crowds.”
Alan Hooley, 65, was a joiner who worked on the hospital from the very beginning, three years earlier in 1984.
“I was meant to be working on the Albion Centre, but I took a wrong turn,” he said.
“I saw the Shepherd Construction signs and thought, ‘oh this must be the place’.
“They needed a joiner, so I stayed.”
He quickly became foreman on-site and took a number of photographs as work progressed.
One picture was taken at the reception desk, shortly before Princess Diana’s arrival.
It shows Alan on the left with the building’s first security guard and a young apprentice called Ray on the right.
Alan said the project cost just £5.6m.
“Nowadays it would have been 10 times that amount,” he noted.
“It was a hard project to build but it used a lot of local labour.”
Alan, who lives in Bulwell, is looking to get in touch with anyone who worked with him on the hospital, especially Ray or another apprentice, named Matthew Bostock. Give him a call on 07812 449397.