Gordon Lauste and his 11 years in the Sanatorium
Gordon was born in 1919 and having contracted TB at the age of 28, he was admitted to the Sanatorium (Bensan) in 1947. His prognosis was poor but despite being expected to live no more than six months, Gordon remained at the Sanatorium for 11 years.
A letter written by Gordon in 1955, when he had been a patient for eight years, shows his hope and resilience. Gordon wrote, ‘I am confident that the day will come when I march at the head of the Bensan Band to the Headcorn taxi on the first step of my journey home’.
Records describe Gordon as a positive man, who always supported other patients and enjoyed organising and participating in recreational activities. Following Gordon’s death in 1958, a memorial trust was set up to raise funds to build a patient recreation room.
Sufficient funds were raised to build the Gordon Lauste building at a cost of £4,500. The building opened on 3 October 1959 by Lord Plant.
In 1955, Gordon wrote that he ‘shouldn’t stop to tie his shoe-lace for fear of being part of the foundations of some new extension’. The new outpatient extension is now being built on the site of the old Gordon Lauste building.