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Frank Sinatra

visited Frenchay Hospital in 1953


He met the matron,

sat on the beds with the patients

and sang them a few songs.

Remembering Frank Sinatra,

by Betty Bowden.

November 2000.

I saw Frank Sinatra’s daughter on television the other evening and having been a fan of his in my younger days I listened with great interest as she told us about her life with such a famous father. It reminded me of when I went to see him at the Bristol Hippodrome in June 1953. It was his one and only visit to Bristol and he stayed at the Grand Hotel.

I remember that his popularity was at an all time low and the Hippodrome was half empty (or half full if you are an optimist). He came out on the stage, looked around at all the empty seats and wanted to know where the ’Big Brass Band’ was playing. After being used to packed theatres, with young women screaming and swooning over him, you would think he would be a bit put out, but not a bit. He gave us a night to remember, singing song after song to great applause.

He was asked if he would visit Frenchay Hospital, to which he very kindly agreed. I went over to see him at the Hospital. He was met by the Matron, who accompanied him to some of the wards to meet the patients. The accompanying photographs show him arriving and sitting on the bed whilst singing to one young lady.

What a lovely man he was with such a wonderful voice. I don’t think today’s singers will leave such lasting memories. I doubt in fifty years time we will even remember their names.