THE first-ever autumn reception for the Friends of the Hospital of St Cross attracted support from the city's Great and Good.

The Friends' chairman Richard Chisnell said the hospital was “part of the DNA of Winchester... which we have a duty to preserve and protect”.

He was referring to the centuries old icon that is the Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty at the inaugural reception held in the 14th Century Brethren’s Hall.

Guests and supporters included the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson and his wife Christine, the Mayor and Mayoress, David and Diane McLean, MP Steve Brine, the vice chancellor of Winchester University, Professor Joy Carter, the headmaster of Winchester College Dr. Timothy Hands, the leader of the city council, Caroline Horrill, the president of Winchester Rotary Cllr Dominic Hiscock and many of the life and long term Members, supporters and Trustees of the six-year-old Friends charity.

The occasion also celebrated the enrolling of 717 members of the Friends’, as well as the handing over in excess of £80,000 to the hospital trustees, to help with maintenance of the medieval buildings.