A group supporting patients in hospitals in North Tyneside for more than 60 years has disbanded due to dwindling numbers.
North Tyneside League of Friends has been praised by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust for its work over the last six decades.
Since 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.
Chairman Ron Eager 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.”
He added: “I would also like to thank everyone who has helped enable 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, 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 as part of the Hospital Volunteer Service (HVS).
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.”
For more about becoming a volunteer or fundraising opportunities, visit www.northumbria.nhs.uk/charity or contact (0191) 203 1661.