Thanks to Children’s Hospital - 70 years on

Edward Palmer
Edward Palmer

IT is more than 70 years since he was a patient, but Edward Palmer has never forgotten Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

During the Second World War, from the age of eight, he went on his own for “sunshine treatment” in response to conditions such as whooping cough, chicken pox and scarlet fever.

With better health, Edward went on to have a successful career in banking and, seven decades later, has shown his gratitude to the hospital with a donation to its redevelopment appeal.

The 80-year-old said that without the hospital, he would have probably spent his life fighting the illnesses that blighted his childhood.

He was given “sunshine treatment”, which doctors believed would strengthen his immunity.

Travelling from his home in Southey Green once a week for four years, he recalls “sitting on a little bench inside a very small cubicle. A light would shine on my back and then the front of my body for just a few minutes, and then I would go home.

“I was only eight-years-old when I went for my first appointment, but I pretty much always went on my own. Parents couldn’t come with you to hold your hand – there was a war on. I would think nothing of riding the tram or bus by myself, and the doctors and nurses were always very nice to me when I arrived.

“There was a black-out in Sheffield and I can remember that school was once cancelled for months because of damage from the bombings. The other children would get up to all kinds of mischief, but I was usually too ill to join in. I was very lucky to be living so close to the hospital because sometimes it was impossible to travel very far because of the rubble and blocked roads, especially after the blitz.”

Edward, who lives in Norwood, has made a donation - the amount has not been revealed - to The Children’s Hospital Charity’s ‘Make it Better’ appeal, which aims to raise £20m towards a £40m project that includes new play facilities, single rooms, en suite facilities and specialist medical equipment.

Last Christmas he sponsored a decorative snowflake in the hospital. “When I was at the hospital, the part of the building I visited for my treatment was considered state-of-the-art, but things change. It’s vital for the hospital to move with the times and that is what the charity helps it to do.

“I missed out on a lot as a child – like climbing trees and playing sports. I hope that by donating these things will be possible for poorly children like me, today.

“The hospital is an amazing place that saves lives and turns fragile children into strong adults.”