THIRTY years of healthcare was celebrated at a ball held at Steam, in Swindon.

The event was staged by BMI The Ridgeway Hospital, in Wroughton, which also marked the total of 450 years’ service of 29 members of staff.

All the long-serving staff received commemorative pins on the night.

And two members of staff who have been with the hospital since it opened were presented with flowers and gifts by James Lowe, the hospital’s executive director.

Out-patients manager Tina West started working as a State Enrolled Nurse when the hospital first opened.

Tina, who is the longest serving nurse at the hospital, started the hospital’s hugely successful Breast Care Support Group and has led the out-patient department for more than ten years.

She said: “The hospital has really changed in the last 30 years. We’ve grown to offer patients more services and treatments but patient care has always been our priority.

“I’ve been involved in developing a whole new out-patient department and the on-going outpatient services, so from a career perspective I’ve grown too.

“It’s such a special place to work; it’s so friendly and everyone knows each other well.”

Commercial finance manager Neil Webb also celebrated 30 years of working at the hospital.

“The doors opened on the 17th June, a Sunday, and I remember sitting in reception waiting for our very first patient,” he said.

“I have many happy memories, including eating fish and chips on a Friday from a caravan parked in front of the hospital in the early years – it’s very different now!

“I’ve seen lots of changes and have worked with so many people, a number of whom are still here.”

James said: “Many of our staff have been here for over ten years. They know the hospital and our patients and, on many levels, our patients know our staff and enjoy seeing familiar faces when they return.”

BMI The Ridgeway Hospital was purpose built in 1985 by a group of consultants from the former Princess Margaret Hospital, in Swindon.

Next week the hospital will be launching The Big Health Pledge. BMI Healthcare has pledged to raise at least £10,000 for Cancer Research UK through the campaign.

Staff, consultants and patients will be involved in a series of fundraising events across the network of 63 UK hospitals and healthcare facilities this summer.

The hospital will be selling a BMI cookbook and inviting patients and visitors to enjoy a fruit smoothie in the dining room with all proceeds going to Cancer Research UK.