THE chairman of the Friends of Burnham-on-Sea War Memorial Hospital charity has taken the decision to retire after 20 years of service.

Bernie Spilsbury has worked tirelessly for the Friends - a charitable foundation dedicated to improving the lives of everyone needing help within the community - during his two decades on the committee, holding the role of chairman for the last five years.

In that time he has driven forward several innovative ideas while also being involved in other groups - with those contacts being of benefit to the hospital.

In 2019, Bernie was presented with a Civic Award for Services to Charity.

He said: ““Working with the Friends and being chairman has been an honour.

“It becomes part of your life, and it goes without question that I will miss the continual involvement in our hospital, but I feel now is the right time to stand down.”

While he is retiring from the work of the committee, Bernie has opted to remain on the ‘volunteer pool’, which is much appreciated by the current vice-chairman Ceri Joyce.

She said: “It’s great that we shall still have him on board, as he knows a lot of people!”

A spokesperson for the Friends commented: “Bernie has always been an integral part of the Burnham community and, alongside him, his wife Mary has always been by his side supporting him.

“While not always visible, Bernie continually worked diligently behind the scenes, and that dedication will certainly be missed.

“Moving forward, we hope to carry on his legacy and - when times permit - we will be running events to continue to raise funds for our much-loved local hospital.”

For more information about the Friends, or if you would like to join the organisation, visit its website here.