The original 1945 donor board in the entrance to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital lists the names of the many individuals and organisations who supported the post- WWII Cape Red Cross Society appeal for building funds.
One of the stories behind those early donations re-surfaced recently when Alastair and Brenda Weir visited the Hospital and shared some memories of their father whose name appears on the donor board.
Dr John Weir M.B., Ch.B graduated from U.C.T. in 1936 and worked as a surgeon before specialising in child medicine, gaining overseas experience in the Paediatric Department at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle-on-Tyne. When WWII broke out in September 1939, he returned to South Africa and joined the S.A.A.F. as a medical captain serving in the western desert and in Italy.
Returning home after the war he started a general practice in Rondebosch and was much-respected family doctor. He married Peggy (nee Duncan-Brown) and had a son, Alastair and daughter, Margaret. Then, in early September 1951, he tragically suffered an aneurysm and died at the age of only 38.
His grateful patients and friends donated a substantial sum of money in his memory to fund two beds at the Red Cross Memorial Children’s Hospital, which opened its doors in 1956. Sixty years on, many thousands of sick children have been given back their childhood, thanks to those early donors and the many more since.