Friends of RCH was founded in 1945, one of the oldest Leagues in the country. It incorporated the Ladies Linen League, a body which met regularly to sew for the hospitals in mid Cornwall. Its founder and first chairman was Mrs Bickford-Smith of Trevarno, Helston, with Mrs George Johnstone of Trewithen the original Honorary Secretary.
Changes in the National Health Service over the years has meant that some of the smaller hospitals in the Truro area no longer exist and, with the closure of the Royal Cornwall Infirmary and St Clements after the new hospital was built at Treliske, it then became the RCH (Royal Cornwall Hospital).
When St Michaels Hayle and West Cornwall Hospital, Penzance, became managed as the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust we became the Friends of the Royal Cornwall (Charity No 2520830). Each hospital has their own League of Friends and work as independent Charities within the Trust.
The Friends of RCH has changed over many years, not only with fund raising but also supporting the work of over 460 volunteers who now work from the Treliske site. All volunteers can be easily recognised by their Friends' ID badges on lanyards, tabard aprons or polo - shirts.
In the early years, The Friends of RCH provided amenities to make patients’ stays in hospital more homelike and comfortable; now they finance grants to enable items of equipment to enhance care in many of the hospital departments as well as supporting public appeals made by the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust.
Over the years they have been extremely fortunate in receiving many generous legacies. Such donations are recorded in a Book of Remembrance, found in the Chapel at the Royal Cornwall Hospital.