The final curtain for 153-year-old mental health hospital serving Havering

A FOND farewell has been bid to the Mascalls Park mental health hospital as it prepares to close its doors for the last time in the New Year.

Staff, service users, carers, families and friends - current and past - gathered on Oak Ward at the former Warley Hospital site on Friday, December 17, to mark the hospital’s achievement in helping thousands of people with mental health problems, many from Havering, in more than a century and a half.

The mental health in-patient unit and services based on the site will be moving to the �22million Sunflowers Court site, a state-of-the-art, purpose-built mental health facility which service users helped to design. It will be based on the Goodmayes Hospital site, in Ilford, and will be used alongside the existing Chapters House Unit from January.

Many guests at the gathering brought memories and some historic memorabilia from the past with picture boards sparking lively discussions and nostalgia.

A total 153 Chinese lanterns were released into the sky to mark the occasion.

Stephanie Dawe, chief operating officer, said: “Mascalls Park, formerly Warley Hospital, has helped many people with mental health problems on the road to recovery over the past 153 years and this event celebrated that.

“It was lovely to see so many service users, carers, families and friends from across the years join staff at the farewell and reminisce.

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“Our focus will continue to be helping people with mental health problems on the road to recovery and leading a healthy, successful life.”

Service user David Vaz said: “I am sad to see Mascalls Park close as the services I received from the staff there was fantastic and really did help me to get my life back following a nervous breakdown.

“Despite the seriousness of why I was a patient at Mascalls Park, I do have some very good memories of my time there and the care really was fantastic. I’m sure this will continue in Sunflowers Court.”

Also attending there event was Ken Puckring, a consultant at Mascalls Park between 1969 and 1999, along with North East London Foundation Trust chairman Jane Atkinson, several Trust governors and patient representatives.

Mr Puckring said: “The site and the former Warley Hospital will be missed by many who worked there over the years as it was really like a community with the staff and patients.

“There was even a farm on the site and a bakery on site in the old days, which the staff helped the mental health patients to get involved in.

“I thoroughly enjoyed working at the site and even though it will be missed, the excellent standards of mental health treatment and care will continue by NELFT.”

Trust chairman Jane Atkinson said: “This is a really exciting time for us. NELFT feels a great sense of pride regarding our new inpatient facility, which really will enable us to provide the highest possible standards for our service users in modern, purpose built premises.

Chief Executive John Brouder added: “Thank you to everybody at Mascalls Park over the years for enabling us to help thousands of mental health service users on the road to recovery.

“This good work will continue at our wonderful new Sunflowers Court building which is going to be of great benefit to our service users but also our staff, providing excellent facilities to equip them to be able to deliver first class mental health services.”