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Hospital fundraising group calls it a day

Thursday, 03 July, 2014
Hospital fundraising group calls it a day

A group that has supported patients in hospitals in North Tyneside for more than 60 years has been celebrated for its efforts as it disbands.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust held a presentation to thank North Tyneside League of Friends.

Since it was set up in 1948, the organisation has raised tens of thousands of pounds to improve the hospital environment for patients in Preston Hospital and then North Tyneside General Hospital.

Now, because of dwindling numbers, the group has decided to call it a day.

Ron Eager, chairman of the group, said: “It’s the end of an era. The League of Friends has done fantastic work over the years buying a whole host of items which have really made a difference to patients.

“We’ve had umpteen members in our time and I would like to thank each and every one of them for dedicating their time to the cause.

“I would also like to thank everyone who bought a cake or book or came along to one of our events and enabled us to raise so much money.”

Over the years the group has paid for hundreds of items including chairs for waiting areas, reclining chairs to enable relatives to stay overnight in hospital, initiatives to support patients with dementia and formed a hospital radio station.

Harry Mercer, 92, is one of the longest-serving members of the group and got involved after he had a hip replacement in 1957.

“I’d received such good care that I wanted to give something back to the hospital,” he said.

“I’m very sad to see it fold as it’s played such an important role over the years, however, I’m glad to still be involved in the hospital.”

Harry, from North Shields, works as a volunteer driving the buggy which transports patients and visitors around North Tyneside hospital.

This is one of the roles that Hospital Volunteer Service (HVS) volunteers carry out. Many volunteers work in the HVS shop which, as part of the trust’s Bright Charity, raises funds to provide the extras that are not usually funded by the NHS, with all profits going back to the hospital to ensure patients of all ages have the best experience possible in hospital.

Other volunteering opportunities include facilitating patient activities, providing support to patients who have suffered a stroke and meeting and greeting patients and visitors at hospital entrances.

Ian McMinn, non-executive director at Northumbria Healthcare who is chairman of the trust’s charitable funds committee, thanked The League of Friends for their efforts.

He said: “On behalf of the trust, I’d like to pay tribute to members of The League of Friends, both past and present, who have done a sterling job over the years.

“Their commitment and dedication to do their best for patients in hospital are to be celebrated and we would like to thank them all.”

If you’re interested in finding out about becoming a volunteer or fundraising opportunities, visit or contact 0191 203 1661.