SOLICITOR Bill Masefield, who was made an MBE in the New Year Honours list, has helped set up a thank-you fund for Sister Sue Roig, following her resignation from Ledbury Community Hospital.

The fund will enable people to show their appreciation for the 21 years of service Sister Roig devoted to the town's hospital.

Mr Masefield said he decided to help as an independent person and not as chairman of the Friends of Ledbury Hospital, for which he received the MBE.

He became involved after being approached by Jackie Bursnell, Brown Owl of Eastnor Brownies, whose original idea it was to set up the fund.

Mr Masefield said: "Sue Roig has given marvellous service to the hospital and the town. It is sad to lose someone so well-liked and respected."

Miss Bursnell said: "I just felt that Sue had done so much for the whole of the community.

"She has treated me, she treated my mum and she has always been there. I felt the community owed her something. And it's not just me, I know other people feel the same."

Miss Roig handed in her resignation to hospital owners Shaw in December, but has declined to comment on her reasons for leaving. Until last March, she was senior sister at the old Cottage Hospital, off The Homend, but transferred to the new Community Hospital when it opened.

Her resignation caused dismay in Ledbury and expressions of concern from prominent people, including mayor Noel Roberts and Spencer Lane, chairman of Ledbury Hospital Equipment Fund.

Miss Roig's final day at the hospital was last Friday.

Stephen Crisp, Shaw's regional manager and spokesman for Ledbury Hospital, said: "I'm sure that Shaw will consider making a contribution to the collection for Sue Roig, for all her years of service."

Mr Crisp added that he was "very optimistic" that a recent recruitment drive was bearing fruit, reducing the reliance on agency staff.

Interviews for a new senior sister were held on Wednesday. A new home manager for the nursing home section has already been appointed, together with a new male nurse and a new clinical nurse for the NHS section.

Mr Crisp said: "Things are beginning to move a little now."

Donations to the Sue Roig Collection Fund can be made at Lloyds Bank, using branch code 30-94-14 and account number 3050018.