A GROUP of people dedicated to supporting patients in hospital has raised £25,000 to improve facilities there.

The Colchester League of Hospital & Community Friends has 120 active volunteers, who work in shops, man the ward shop trolleys and newspaper rounds, and offer a guiding service.

Money raised by the League is ploughed back into hospitals by providing special equipment.

They have donated £25,000 to Colchester General Hospital, which has been split with £20,000 going to the Cancer Centre Campaign and £5,000 to the Time Garden Appeal.

The £3.25m cancer centre project aims to bring all cancer services together in one site.

The Time Garden will be a sanctuary for people receiving end of life care.

Caroline Bates, head of charity and fundraising at the Colchester Hospitals Charity, said: “We are delighted to have received such fantastic donations for both the cancer centre and the Time Garden appeals which are both nearing their fundraising targets.

"It is only with the support of the local community and groups like Colchester League of Hospital & Community Friends that we will be able to complete both these projects.”

The League raised the money through sales of food and drink from the five shops they have across hospitals in Colchester.

The most visible work is at their shops, guiding service, ward shop trolleys, and ward newspaper rounds in Colchester General Hospital, and the tea bar at Essex County Hospital and cafe at the Primary Care Centre in Colchester.

Along with paid staff, these outlets and services are manned by the many volunteers who willingly give up their time.

Colchester League of Hospital & Community Friends is always looking for new volunteers.

If you are interested in volunteering call Emma on 01206 752899, email clhf@hotmail.co.uk, or apply at www.clhf.co.uk.