Over 160 people celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Friends of Burnham-On-Sea Hospital at a special event last night (Saturday).

The event, held at the Oaktree Arena, was well supported by the group’s members and followers, many of whom wore gold and yellow in line with the golden anniversary theme.

Vice-Chairman Bernard Spilsbury told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “50 years is a special milestone for us and it was great to have so many supporters along to celebrate it. The event has been sold out for months.”

He said that the Friends of Burnham Hospital, a registered charity, was formed in 1966 to support the town’s War Memorial Hospital.

“Although there have been many changes in the NHS and the role of our hospital during our 50 years, we pride ourselves in maintaining our primary objectives to provide funds to supplement the resources of the hospital, for the benefit of patients and staff,” explained Bernard.

“We also provide a link between the hospital and the local community, and since our inception we have raised in excess of £2million.”

Bernard, pictured above with his wife, added: “Some of the projects we’ve funded include a new annexe in 1997, and we also gave £310,000 towards a major refurbishment in 2009-2010 when every part of the hospital was upgraded.”

“No less important to users has been the provision of electronic beds and matresses, ward equipment, furniture, resources for patients and the refurbishment of the staff room.”

To mark the 50th anniversary, the Friends is redesiging and resurfacing the hospital’s courtyard this year to create a multi-use area. The new facilities are due to be opened in the Spring.

Saturday’s celebration is expected to have raised further funds for the Friends, to help the hospital in the years to come.