A HOSPITAL friends’ group responsible for raising more than half a million pounds has celebrated its 60th birthday.

The League of Voluntary Workers for Burnley General Hospital has raised £528,000 since its inception in 1954 — enough to pay for 10 prostate scanners, the focus of its current appeal.

Through the decades, the group has also funded key projects, including a conservatory for chemotherapy patients, specialist chairs for orthopaedic wards and a bladder scanner.

Joan Carpenter, the league's chairman, said its members were still ‘full of determination’ to help the hospital wherever possible.

She said: “I would like to thank all our past and present members of the League of Voluntary Workers for all the hard work they have put in over the years.

“To raise funds in the early years, we served meals in the wooden hut in the hospital grounds. Today fundraising is far more difficult, but we have monthly sales of work at Phase 5 in the hospital, also collections at local stores like Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s, the latter of which has sponsored us for the past two years.

“I’d also like to say a big thank you to everyone who has donated to us and helped us to benefit patient care.”

The League celebrated its 60th birthday with an event held in the hospital’s Mackenzie Centre, which was attended by the outgoing Mayor of Burnley, Coun Frank Cant, MP Gordon Birtwistle and Christine Pearson, chief nurse at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Wendy Eccles, deputy store manager at Burnley Sainsbury’s, was also present to hand over a cheque for £8771.23 from the store’s fundraisers.

Mrs Carpenter said one of the group’s biggest successes was the building of a café in 1964, which ran for 40 years.

It has also purchased TVs, water coolers, scales and fans for patients’ use.