The Queen Alexandra Hospital Home is a remarkable institution with an inspiring history. Casualties in the First World War reached appalling numbers and the Book tells how the home cared for those who were permanently disabled. The vision of Gladys Marchioness of Ripon, the Home was founded in 1919 in Roehampton through the generosity of the Charrington family. In an outstanding story of voluntary effort, people from all walks of life rallied round to help, including the royal family and, in particular, Mrs Verena Hay, who devoted over thirty years of her life to bringing her friend Lady Ripon's vision to reality. The Home pioneered medical and social care procedures which are taken for granted today. The first steps in physiotherapy and occupational therapy were followed by helping the patients to retrain and to find employment. There are wonderful stories of the courage and cheerfulness of individual patients, whose lives were restored and enriched by the devotion of many volunteers. The move to Worthing in 1933 was achieved in spite of bureaucratic obstacles and some local opposition, though the residents soon took 'the Boys' to their hearts.
Vital support came from the British Red Cross Society, the Order of St John and the 8th Duke of Richmond as well as military and other charities. Operating with a deficit nearly every year of its existence led to energetic financial planning and the support of benefactors always made the difference between success and failure. This powerful story will appeal to many readers who have barely heard of 'Gifford House', as it is more usually called these days; while for all who knew the institution or whose realtives were cared for in the Home the story will be fascinating.