I felt like Surprised From Pembury the other day when I found out the shiny new wonderful hospital being built not two minutes from the centre of the village will be heading for an entirely new name. Call me naive, but I assumed it would keep the same moniker, especially as it's on the same site as the old Pembury Hospital. It is well known not just locally, but the transition from old to new is a gradual process as the functions of the one are filtered into the other.
However, it seems the Hospital Trust are considering the name The Royal Tunbridge Wells Hospital. My first thought was that it's not in Tunbridge Wells, and the second was that it will get shortened to The Royal which is a bit 'TV' for my tastes. Having something royal in the name however is one way of getting a member of royalty present on opening and gain royal patronage, which will doubtless raise the profile of the local area.
Campaigners are trying to get the Trust to consider local opinion, and retain Pembury in the name somehow. One idea put forward was The Royal Pembury (still running the risk of The Royal there).
Or how about The Pembury Royal Hospital?
Many people think changing the name too much will not only be confusing, but a sad loss of identity for what was an institution locally. I was born at Pembury Hospital, as was my partner and many other people we know including our friends' children. I was sad that due to an emergency our daughter was born over in Maidstone and not Pembury - despite it having infinitely newer facilities, Maidstone Hospital had no personal connection to us. Keeping Pembury in the name of the new hospital would go a long way to ensuring the new buildings retained a mark of respect for what went before.
I can see where the idea of it being a 'Tunbridge Wells' hospital has come from - with the proposed closing of The Kent and Sussex sometime in the future, the Not Pembury Hospital will become the main one in the area.
Maybe there should be a local competition, open to schools in the Tunbridge Wells area to have some other suggestions put forward? At least then local residents will feel a part of the process and involved in the identity of their own hospital.
I know the Pembury County and Borough Councillors are now lobbying to include 'Pembury' in the new hospital name, so have your say by dropping a line to Kevin Lynes at firstname.lastname@example.org or us here at The Best Of Tunbridge Wells.
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