IT stands off the main thoroughfare through Hereford County Hospital.

Almost every person passing through the entrance to the new building will pass its open doors.

Its position is prominent and public but it is one of the most tranquil rooms in the whole hospital.

People make their way there to mourn the delivery of a still-born baby or to celebrate the birth of a new addition to the family.

Others call in for comfort and help in grieving the death of a loved one in the hospital, to pray for the recovery of a family member or friend, a patient at risk.

Many staff drop by for a few moments' meditation before going on duty, seeking strength to help them through the coming day.

It is, of course, the hospital chapel.

It has no special name and in the words of the resident vicar, the Rev Philip Roberts it is a place for all, for people of faith and of no faith.

He says hospital visitors are 'intrigued' to find such a modern hospital should have included a chapel in such a public place. Such a room is usually tucked away out of sight, on the third floor.

It is not a sombre chapel, every effort being made to counteract the clinical appearance of the rest of the building.

With pastel-coloured walls, light coloured carpet and semicircle of comfortable chairs the first impression is of peace and quiet.

Dominating the room is the large stained glass window representing the globe with a cross in the centre - the all-seeing eye of the world.

This modern window, the work of Jack Hobbs of Much Birch has been removed from the former chapel in the old hospital and is much loved. Now it has been joined by' two vintage stained glass windows, which for more than 60 years shed light into the chapel in the old general hospital.

Planning permission had to be sought before these could be moved but now ancient and modern sit happily together in their new home.

One of the windows was installed at the General in the early 1930s to commemorate the life of Arthur Wellesley Foster, the grandfather of Jeremy Clay of Fawley whose family trust recently donated well over £1 million to the County Hospital for a new state of the art scanner.

The second was placed round the same time in memory of Mary Elkins.

These windows are not actually in the chapel but are on the wall opposite the doors into the main walkway through not far from the main reception.

Mr Roberts has looked after the spiritual interests of the hospital patients and staff for many years and is supported by the Rev Chris Rhodes.

The Roman Catholic Church is represented by Father Peter Brady and the Rev Roger Woodall is the Free Church minister.

A Christian service for all faiths is held every Sunday morning in the chapel and volunteers collect patients from the wards who want to attend.

Mr Roberts would like more to help with this task, but they must be regular members of a church.

Harvest and carol services are popular in the chapel and each July a special thanksgiving service takes place in memory of still born babies. A book of remembrance bears their names with many parents returning to the chapel to turn the pages on special days.

The chapel suite has a special room to provide facilities for other faiths, much used by Moslems.

This very special place in the new County is a refuge for many, for many reasons and on many occasions. Now into its second year it has proved to be an essential cog in the every day life of a district general hospital.