WHEN Tina Barnes decided to step in as the new chairman of Babington Hospital’s League of Friends group she knew she had some big shoes to fill.
Departing Ray Asher has helped raise more than £200,000 for new furnishings, medical equipment and occasionally whole new buildings during his 22 years in charge.
Since 1956, the friends has become an integral part of the local community, working as a loyal band of 15 volunteers, meeting once a month at the hospital and holding regular fund-raising events.
To help continue the good work, Tina - who has herself put in 22 years working in admin at the hospital’s social services department, stepped up to the plate when Ray, 74, announced his retirement at the end of last year.
And she has pledged to continue improving the lives of patients at the hospital in spite of the current climate within the National Health Service of cutbacks and savings.
Mum of two Tina , 52, said: “We can still make that difference. We will be doing everything we can, when we can, to improve things for patients at Babington.
“Ray and his wife Janet have done a tremendous job, they are very well known throughout the town and have done everything that has been asked of them while still being friendly and approachable.
“I was very honoured when he asked me to take over - it’s a very strong and committed group which is made up entirely of local people and has carried out some truly impressive work. Hopefully there is a great deal more that we can contribute in the future.”
It’s not the first time that Tina and Ray have followed in each others footsteps.
When she was 17, Ray was Tina’s colleague at English Sewing - based at North Mills. They also worked together at Flanders - a now defunct sock-maker in Belper.
Now employed at the hospital to help ensure discharges are conducted safely and appropriately, she has been working closely with Derbyshire County Council since joining the NHS in July 1989.
She formally begins her role as chairman this month, after being introduced to the workings of the league of friends since the end of last year and is already planning a garden party and car boot sales to boost the coffers and provide more services and equipment at the hospital for patients.
Tina added: “People are very proud of this hospital. We are a small but dedicated group but we do what we can.
“We also appreciate all the support we can get from the public in generating funds to provide services and equipment for Babington Hospital to make the patients stay as comfortable as possible.”