The League of Friends of
Bexhill Hospital -
Working for the good of
Local patients since 1952


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Reg. CIO Charity No 1169175 Sunbeams 41 Broad Oak Lane Bexhill-on-Sea TN39 4LG Email

Stuart Earl - the happy warrior

THE League of Friends has been dealt a colossal blow with the death at the age of 72 of our devoted Chairman, Stuart Earl.

When Stuart was invited to join the League a decade ago as it Chairman he immediately immersed himself into its ethos and purpose with total commitment. Stuart was closely and enthusiastically involved with so many valued town organisations but he always said that it was Chairmanship of the League that brought him the greatest satisfaction because with the backing of a loyal and cohesive committee and the generous support of the community it was possible to achieve tangible and immediate results for the benefit of so many people.

In all that he strove for so wholeheartedly and enthusiastically for the League a single goal was always in the forefront of his thinking and that was the welfare of the patients. Stuart brought to the chairmanship a wealth of practical experience in business and public life.

He used it to the tremendous advantage of the League and therefore to the benefit of patients. Wise chairman think at least “one jump ahead.” Stuart's forward planning was streets ahead of this. With a working knowledge of local government and of countless community organisations came a vision that was all-embracing. He worked tirelessly to create a spirit of mutual cooperation between organisations that would ensure that available resources were used to best advantage.

A splendid example was the League's purchase of a wheelchair-accessible mini-bus. Stuart was also Chairman of Bexhill Caring Community. BCC needed a replacement mini-bus. The League was seeking to improve patient transport. Together with League and BCC Treasurer Chris Ashford, Stuart brokered a deal under which the League purchased and retained ownership of the vehicle which BCC administer and which is available for patient transport.

Stuart loved what he aptly termed such “win-win” solutions. Of all his many achievements for the local community across the incredibly broad spectrum of his active involvement nothing symbolises his dogged commitment more vividly than the League's purchase of a second MRI scanner for the Conquest Hospital.

Stuart served on the £1m appeal body which secured the first scanner (to which the Bexhill League contributed) but was concerned that East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust was having to rent a second scanner at the cost of £350,000 a year. There were clear advantages in the Trust owning a second scanner and to be able to plan the erection of a building for both from the outset. Sadly, Stuart's inspired idea that the Bexhill League could buy this and lease a second scanner to the Trust fell foul of NHS red tape. Had it met with approval, the Trust would have benefitted, the League would have benefitted and, most importantly for Stuart, so would patients.

Instead, the Bexhill League is buying the second scanner outright. It is a measure of the respect and high regard that the Trust had for Stuart that on hearing that Stuart's pancreatic cancer was terminal Trust Chief Executive Dr Adrian Bull immediately agreed that the device should bear a plaque commemorating Stuart's devotion to the campaign.

Thankfully, Stuart was made aware of this honour shortly before he died. It moved him to tears. Here truly was a “happy warrior,” someone with immeasurable energy and drive who delighted in serving the community.

The League condolences go to Stuart's widow, Deirdre, in her loss.

Our thanks go to Stuart for his immense contribution to our cause.