The tireless fundraisers of the League of Friends of Barnstaple Hospital are launching a new fundraising appeal this year.

The League helps to supply pieces of equipment and medical items for North Devon District Hospital which the NHS cannot always afford.

In its 48 years as a charity, the group of volunteers has managed to raise around £2,750,000 for the hospital.

This year they hope local people will help them to raise £10,000 for a fibroscan, a machine the measures the stiffness of the liver in a non-invasive and painless way.

The group also wants to raise £1,600 for a smoke suction machine, a piece of equipment which is used mainly in dermatology departments to help rid of any smoke produced by lasers during electro-surgeries.

Di Burridge from the group said: “We really need North Devon people to know that we do still exist.

“We have heard people say that the League of Friends isn't around anymore but we are and we are still making a difference.”

Since March 2017, the charity has managed to raise more than £7,000 which has been spent on an arjo sara stedy (a piece of equipment which helps patients with their mobility), dermatoscope, zimmer frames and a number of other items.

Andy Gibson, vice chairman of 30 years standing, added: “We'd really like more people to sponsor us.

“We are an alternative way for the people of the hospital to get what they need and we help those that are struggling.”

The group would like to hear from anyone who wants to volunteer, hold an event or help raise money. Fundraiser chairman John Maycock, said: “I won't say we are getting older but we are definitely maturing.

“We would like to see more members join and get young blood involved with the fundraising.”

One of the most expensive pieces of equipment the Friends raised money for was a scanner for the gynaecology department which enabled women to have biopsy scans without the need of anaesthetic, which cost roughly £30,000.

Upcoming events include carvery luncheons on the last Thursday of every month at The Old Barn Inn, Bickington, for members and their guests from 12.30pm, a coffee morning at Chichester Court on May 12 and a country and western music evening on June 2 at the Barnstaple Social Club.

Anyone wishing to get involved should call 01271 376347 or visit www.lofbarnstaple.co.uk to find out more.