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Memorial benches 'left to wear and tear' at Rossendale Hospital
2:00pm Thursday 5th July 2012 in Rossendale
MEMORIAL benches left at Rossendale Hospital are not fit to be used as the centrepiece for Rawtenstall’s new public square.
Coun Anne Cheetham, one of the surviving founder members of the hospital’s League of Friends, had questioned whether the benches could be relocated to a new public open space being created where the Valley Centre once stood.
But NHS bosses have admitted that the benches have not been maintained, since East Lancashire Hospitals Trust finally withdrew from the site nearly a year-and-a-half ago, and are not fit for the purpose.
Work on the square is continuing apace with a hardstanding being installed this week and the hoardings surrounding the site But Coun Cheetham was keen for a place where shoppers and visitors could relax and suggested approaching the hospital trust regarding the benches, which had been donated by fundraisers and patients’ families down the years.
Council leader Coun Alyson Barnes also supported the idea, saying it would be a welcome addition to the square.
Last night a trust spokesman said: “Unfortunately due to the closure of Rossendale Hospital and the absence of maintenance in the hospital and its grounds, the benches donated by the charity have suffered a good deal of wear and tear over the years and are now not in a suitable condition to be used by members of the public.
“If the League of Friends wants to re-provide the benches, the trust would be happy to donate new plaques recognising the good work they have carried out over the years.”
Speaking later, Coun Cheetham said: “We used to have people who could work on renovating these benches, when we had an industrial therapy unit at the hospital.
“It would be very, very sad if these donations were just thrown on the scrapheap. The NHS was built with the support of the communities it served.”