I have neglected mentioning GUCH for some time now and feel quite bad about it, they are after all the reason I am doing this. Somedays I don't leave a blog, sometimes I just don't have the time or energy but the people at GUCH are always there to help. This was my inspiration for starting this quest but what was their inspiration in the first place to actually start the charity off? I have taken this from the GUCH website as it will give you a little more insight to the truly selfless people who started this great charity.
"At September's BGM, Judy Shedden spoke to us about the origins of GUCH, and what caused the association to be formed 10 years ago. The details were new to many of us, and the story of how we got this far was fascinating. Here is an abridged version of Judy's story, edited to avoid her extreme modesty where necessary.
As with many things GUCH, it all started with Prof Jane Somerville - she has given her life to the welfare and understanding of firstly children, and then as her clinical cases grew up, to adults (young adults, and now some not-so-young adults) in a life of outstanding achievement.
Her maxim 'Ask the patient - they're the ones who know" has resounded through many a hospital round, and hopefully sunk into generations of trainee doctors. It has certainly sunk into her patients, who are among the best-informed, knowledgeable patient group there is.
Alongside her worked another remarkable woman - Belinda Price, earth mother to the GUCH patients, always somehow finding lime to cross London to buy patients' shopping, fit up a sitting room to give them privacy, and sort out a million problems as the link between the patients and the rest of the world.
By 1992, these two were under considerable pressure. They could see how much all their patients needed from them, far beyond medical needs, and worried they could not possibly fulfill it all by themselves. They felt the patients needed an association to fight their corner, and Jane obtained a grant of Â£3000 from the British Heart Foundation, from her good friend Leslie Busk.
The next step was who was to run the association? Judy's speech said, "They cast around and in the absence of anyone else, chose me." But Prof Somerville's speech said what we all Feel, chat there could have been no better person to take on the challenge. She said to Judy, "Well dear, I'm far too busy, so just go away and get on with it."
So Judy did. Beginning from her home in Winchester, soon involving friends such as long-serving Treasurer David Vellacott, and hugely valuable Person Friday Jane Maxwell. A local solicitor, John Beveridge, volunteered to draft the application to theCharityy Commission, and soon the ball was rolling.
Though there was plenty or goodwill and hard work, there were very Few funds. Judy was still working four days a week as a teacher, and spending her "Free" day at Brompton outpatients, recruiting more members and help. Stuart Robertson, eminent Chair of the management committee for many years, was dragged on board at this stage. Other key supporters were: the late Baroness Young who worked hard politically for GUCH; Lord Rea, who brought the link to the Outward Bound holidays: Judy's two brothers-in-law who provided the First GUCH exhibition stand (rescued from the dump) and a much needed grant from Nat West bank; and Dr Jo di Giovanni who with Dr Martin brought support from the Association of British Insurers for the GUCH cause.
There have been many generous supporters of GUCH since, with their time and with their Financial contributions, but this was the very beginning. After a year ofhardf slog, there was a party to celebrate with Val Baxter cooking sausages at speed, the Tyrer family helping everywhere at once, and Robert Barham;s group singing to the assembled patients *until the ones inside the Brompton needed to get to sleep). After that, it was a matter of constantly trying to answer patient's needs. People were ringing with questions about benefits, insurance, jobs, loneliness, surgery, and the difficulty in facing an unknown future. Patients themselves came up with the idea of local contacts, and suggested ideas for seminars.
The newsletter, now so slick, began life as two sides of A4 reproduced on the church photocopier, which regularly broke down and cause tearing out of hair, John Hardman tookoverr the beginning of shaping it into its current form with Stuart Robertson, soon joined by Sarah Darby, and then by Jamie Boyes. It's come a long way from my attempts on a borrowed computer!
As I look at GUCH today, which has become so international in the attending and hosting of conferences, and so widely accessible through the newsletter and the wonderful website, product of Antony Horner's hard work, it is a tribute to the patients who shaped it to fit their needs. The sterling work of Mavis Moore in organising every aspect of the Association to run smoothly and serve patients efficiently brought GUCH on to another level, and now it is in the capable hands of John Richardson, who I'm sure will bring new dimensions again. But when it all comes down to it, it's the patients who make GUCH, and who always must. "
By Sarah Darby and Judy Shedden