10:35AM, Wednesday 26 March 2014
A farewell party at the hospital in Osborne Road, Windsor yesterday saw the unveiling of a plaque and appearances by the Governor of Windsor Castle and past health chiefs who came to express their gratitude.
Colleen Jones has been chairman of the Friends for exactly 30 years and a volunteer for 43. She said: "Our older members want to retire and we find we can't replace them. No-one wants to get up at 6am to get ready for a boot sale.
"It is very sad but you have to learn to accept things although I find it hard to do."
Chris Heitzmann has been treasurer since 1983 and estimates the Friends have raised half a million pounds during that time.
In the last two years he said they had raised £27,000 to help equip the new chemotherapy unit.
Chris choked back tears as he told guests that the number of trustees had dropped from 30 to five, forcing the decision to close down after 59 years. He admitted: "I'm finding it hard at the moment."
Air Marshal Ian Macfadyen, governor of Windsor Castle and patron of the charity for five years, said: "I never expected this day to happen and I'm sure you did not either.This is certainly not the end as I see it, just the end of an era."
He pledged his help to any members who tried to revive the tradition of volunteering at the hospital.
After the speeches members were shown a plaque on the wall of the hospital that had been organised by the hospital's senior receptionist Rosemary Lewington and deputy site manager Liz Pass. It is dedicated to the Friends 'in appreciation of their enthusiasm and tireless fundraising'.
the Friends 'in appreciation of their enthusiam in tireless fund raising'.
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