In 1940 - 41, my parents bought the post office in
Cadewell lane, Torquay. The business also included a grocery and
newspaper shop. Part of the newspaper rounds included delivery to the
staff and patients in the nearby Torbay Hospital.
During the war (1939 - 1945) everyone was expected to help so I
delivered papers before school and in the late afternoon. At weekends, I
also went with my father to the hospital and sold papers to the patients
in their beds. Perhaps you may remember the relatively large number of
different papers that were available then. I almost developed a list to
port from the weight of papers and magazines tucked under my left arm.
The Maternity Ward was out of bounds and we had to ring a bell at the
doors to get a nurse to take the papers to the Mums inside. I think the
Private Ward was also off limits - (rather different to my recent
personal experience where anyone seemed to wander in as they liked.)
My father, John Stentiford - called Jack by everyone - provided this
paper service to the hospital until he retired and sold the business. He
was also involved with the League of Friends of the Hospital. Every
year, a Garden Party was held as part of their find raising. I remember
it being held in the grounds of the old Fever Hospital on Newton
Road, opposite Cadewell Lane*. I do not think the grounds of the Torbay
Hospital were suitable due to the marked slope.
In the immediate
post-war years, things were tight but my father used to cajole or bully
the various commercial travellers and representatives that came to the
shop into bending regulations and finding all sort of prizes for raffles
and competitions. One of the attractions was the visiting celebrity who
would officially open the fete and meet the public. We still see the TV
programme "Antiques Roadshow" in Australia and one of my
father's favourite celebrities was from that show and helped as much as
possible to make the Garden Party a
success. I think too, that he always had a soft spot for Esther Ransome
who was equally helpful.
father's activities with the League of Friends were crowned on his
retirement when, in recognition of all that he had done, the hospital
named a day room after him. The John Stentiford Day Room was opened in 1983
as a tribute to his untiring efforts on behalf of the hospital's
patients. My mother - Gertrude May Stentiford - died in the Spring of
1991; Jack Stentiford, my father, died in the Autumn of 1996.
a doctor and I often think of my daily paper deliveries around the wards
as my first introduction to the world of medicine.