Members of the business community have created a lasting reminder to the role Loughborough Hospital played during the pandemic.

They have provided a brightly coloured all-weather bench via our charity Raising Health, which will be available for patients, visitors and staff at the hospital for years to come.

The bench, which would have cost £1,000 to buy, was the idea of Derby-based Eggleston Steel, supported by Little Eaton Smithy who did the fabrication, and The Gate Maker who did the powder coating.

Richard Hewitt, managing director of Eggleston Steel, said: “It is to show our support and appreciation for everything they have gone through in the last 18 months. It is nice to show the NHS some support from the local community.

“We are very proud of what we have done.”

The bench includes a back panel which was laser-cut and hand painted. It features designs showing nursing and medical staff, an ambulance, a rainbow, the NHS logo and the word “Loughborough”.

Loughborough treated inpatients with Covid-19 from the early days of the pandemic. In January this year it opened a dedicated 18-bed ward just for Covid-positive patients, and it has been a vaccination centre for NHS staff and the public since February.

Roshnee Gill, sister for the permanent inpatient ward at Loughborough, thanked Eggleston Steel for the donation. She said: “It will be nice now that we can sit out and have lunch in a bit of sun because we have been through a hard time in the past year.

“I would also like to thank the whole community for their support – it is nice to be recognised and appreciated.”

Hayley is a staff nurse who worked on Loughborough’s “surge” ward in January and February. She said: “If anything was to happen with a further wave, we would be able to open up again and have a good team working there.

“The local community have been absolutely brilliant, we have had lots of gifts come to the ward. It has been lovely to have been thought of.”

You can see the bench for yourself in this short video: .

Caption: Loughborough Hospital bench.jpg: Seated, Roshnee Gill, sister for the permanent inpatient ward at Loughborough; standing: John Ready, Richard Hewitt and Becky Hewitt, all from Eggleston Steel.