Scots rugby legend Gavin Hastings will kick off an open day at the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) this weekend.
The event has been designed to celebrate the history of the landmark hospital in Edinburgh, which has provided healthcare services to the local community for over 128 years.
A special display of memorabilia and photographs taken throughout the ages will take centre stage during the day, along with attractions such as a magician, bouncy castle, tombola with prizes and even a falconry display.
Gavin, 50, who won 61 caps for Scotland during his outstanding career as a fullback, said the hospital had played a pivotal part in the community.
He added: “The Royal Victoria Hospital has held a special place in the hearts of the local community for a long time.
“Being part of this community myself, it is a great opportunity for me to get involved and I would encourage everyone to come and celebrate the history of this landmark hospital.”
The event will be held before services at the hospital are relocated to the new Royal Victoria Building and will be a chance for the local community to bid a fond farewell.
The RVH was established in 1894 by Sir Robert William Philip.
It was originally created as a tuberculosis sanatorium before it evolved into a care of the elderly hospital.
The new Royal Victoria Building, built nearby on the site of the Western General Hospital, has been designed to provide the highest quality healthcare services in a modern setting.
It will become a new landmark in healthcare history when it opens, as the first of its kind in Scotland to have all the patient accommodation being single en suite rooms.
Construction company Laing O’Rourke, who are responsible for the construction of the new Royal Victoria Building, will also provide a display for the open day to show the future of healthcare services for the elderly.
The event will take place on Saturday 12th May 2012 from 10am-4pm at Royal Victoria Hospital, with the official opening by Gavin Hastings at midday.
Notes to editors:
The Royal Victoria Hospital (13 Craigleith Road, Edinburgh, EH4 2DN) was founded in 1894 by Sir Robert William Philip. He turned the Georgian mansion house into the first sanatorium for tuberculosis north of the border. He was a pioneer in the treatment of tuberculosis and was acutely aware that at the time there was no known treatment for the disease, apart from fresh air and fresh food, both of which were out of reach for many residents of Edinburgh. He created a sanatorium, in the rented Craigleith House, in the west end of the city to operate in conjunction with his world-first dispensary. A farm was later added to the portfolio to produce the fresh food Philip believed necessary for recovery. In 1889, he bought the house and 60-acre grounds and began developing new facilities to meet increasing demand. In 1911 it achieved Royal status.
The services on the site will be relocated to the new Royal Victoria Building. It means that the Royal Victoria Hospital site will no longer be required and it will be put on the market this summer.
The new Royal Victoria Building was officially handed over to NHS Lothian in April, while the first patients are expected to arrive in June.
A second open day will be staged to allow locals and interested groups to look around the new building.