Maryport appears to have turned its back on its local hospital.

Donations have completely dried up since the removal of the hospital's beds last year, forcing the Maryport

Hospital League of Friends having to make a public appeal for money for the first time in over 50 years of existence.

Treasurer Maurice Tate said the trust has gone from "some years when we were given so much money we have had trouble spending it," to the last 12 months where they have received four donations amounting to only £540.

That compares with £2,500 the previous 12 months, over £5,000 the year before that and £59,000 the previous year.

"The £59,000 was the result of the sale of the pensioner rooms in Senhouse Street. We were given the proceeds."

League members said in the past money has poured in for the hospital and in over 50 years of history they have never had to ask for funds.

Since the beds were removed, however, it appears that people do not realise the need is still there.

Members emphasised that their role is to make life easier for Maryport patients.

"We did not agree with the removal of the beds. We fought against it. But the hospital is still being used by Maryport people, so the need to support it still there," Mr Tate said.

The league of friends has just spent £4,000 on two "camel chairs." These are chairs that can be used to life someone off the floor after a fall.

League members said they would be used by the district nurses as well.

With the removal of hospital beds, many more patients are being treated in their own homes and equipment being bought now will help them as well as those attending the hospital for clinical appointments.

However, the organisation has said it is essential to make any donations to the league of friends and not to the hospital.

"If they go to the hospital we do not have any control over how the money is spent. If donations are made to us, we can ensure that the money is benefitting locals," Mr Tate said.