Christmas in Paignton - 25 December 1915

Abridged from the Paignton Western Guardian 30 December 1915

The patients at Oldway Hospital had a right royal Christmas, the day starting at 6 o’clock with the nurses hanging stocking full of presents on each bed. The stocking were the gift of the American Women, and were made by the many hundreds of girls employed by the organization in London. After religious devotions, the Committees presents were circulated, these being augmented by personal gifts from Miss Ethel Bickmore (the Matron), Mrs. L.V. Harcourt, Lady Lowther, Lady Paget and many other friends. Each member of every staff – house, hospital and garden – received something, while more good things were hung on a gigantic Christmas tree in the lounge. The tree was beautifully decorated by the generosity of Mrs. Mary Brown, and the scene at the distribution of the presents was a striking one. Every patient who could attend was present, all the employees at Oldway managed to find standing room, and when Dr. Bowden, impersonating Father Xmas in Mr. Godfrey’s famous “rigout” went around to each, laughter and cheers were general. Among those also present were the Commandant (Lieut. Col. Gunning), Mrs. and Miss Gunning. The chief surgeon Dr. D.D. Pearse Penhallow, the Matron, Dr. Daniel, Dr. Collier and Dr. Goodson, and a few favoured visitors (all of whom were connected with the work at Oldway), including Mrs. and Miss Paris Singer, Mrs. and Miss Graham, Mrs. Penhallow, Mr. and Miss J.H. Cooper, Lieut. Singer, Mrs. Frost and Mrs. Bowden. Those unable to be in the lounge received presents from a huge basket. Prizes were offered for the best decorated wards, St. George being first and Munsey second, though each ward received something. Special Christmas fare was provided and welcome presents were provided by Plymouth Breweries Ltd., the British Red Cross, Messrs. Cadbury and others. In the St. George’s ward, a concert was provided by Mrs. Lee, Miss Lee, Miss Campbell, Messrs. R. Lee, E. Trelevan and A. Jay. On Sunday evening, the choir of St. Andrew’s Church sang carols in the various wards.