Ilfracombe’s Tyrrell Hospital Shop is celebrating its 20th anniversary and more than half a million pounds raised.

Ilfracombe deputy mayor Kit Leck cuts the Tyrrell Hospital Shop 20th birthday cake, joined by League of Friends chairman Gloria Satchwell BEM and town crier Roy Goodwin. Picture: Charmain LovettIlfracombe deputy mayor Kit Leck cuts the Tyrrell Hospital Shop 20th birthday cake, joined by League of Friends chairman Gloria Satchwell BEM and town crier Roy Goodwin. Picture: Charmain Lovett

The Portland Street shop run by the League of Friends of the Tyrrell Hospital was officially opened by the then North Devon MP Nick Harvey on November 5, 1999.

To mark the occasion, a special birthday lunch was held at the hospital, with more than 50 invited guests including volunteers, trustees and supporters.

Friends chairman Gloria Satchwell BEM said the aim of the lunch had been to thank all the supporters for their efforts in keeping the hospital going all this time and through its change from in-patient to out-patient services.

She said: "In that time the shop has spent more than £500,000 on equipment, originally money for the in-patient wards, so the constitution was altered so that it could help the medical centre and district nurses, plus we have also donated to hospital charity Over and Above.

"The Tyrrell has around 25 or more clinics still - minor injuries, x-ray and physiotherapy to name just a few.

"Last year we spent £38,000 up there and this year we will probably spend more."

She thanked the organisations and groups that had supported the fundraising, including the Co-op, Philip Dennis, the Order of Buffaloes and Ilfracombe Round Table.

And she added thanks to all the trustees and volunteers, without whom the shop would not exist, but most importantly, the public for supporting it.

Sir Nick Harvey was unable to attend the lunch, but said: "I am delighted that the shop is still going strong at the Tyrrell, and I congratulate the League of Friends for their continuing dedication.

"Despite the ebb and flow of events in Devon's community hospitals, the Tyrrell still provides vital care to many people.

"It is wonderful that the League and the shop are still there to help make things a little easier for everyone in need of care.

"I remember opening the shop some 20 years ago, and I wish everyone a happy and memorable day. I am sorry that work commitments prevent me joining them."

The League of Friends itself has been going for 46 years and in that time its members have fought to ensure the Tyrrell remains open in Ilfracombe.

Anyone who would like to find out more about the group's work can visit the League of Friends of the Tyrrell Hospital Ilfracombe Facebook page.