A FORMER patient has launched an appeal to secure entertainment systems for a community hospital.

Ken Shaw, 73, of West Tanfield, near Bedale, spent three weeks in the Rutson Hospital, Northallerton, in September.

During that time he was forced to take in his own radio to keep him occupied and he says there is major lack of entertainment systems in the hospital.

When he was discharged he decided to start an appeal to secure televisions, DVD players, video players and radios for the patients, and he has already won support from a number of businesses.

Equipment donated so far includes radios, a wide-screen television, a DVD player, a video player and a number of videos. One person donated 250 LPs.

Mr Shaw, who is disabled, said: "I am trying to get them sorted out and then I am going to have a sale to raise money for the hospital.

"They have got one or two televisions in the hospital, but there is no radio. You had to ring for the nurses to come and change the channel for you, which adds to their workload.

"This stuff that I have managed to collect will make a big difference to the patients. The wide-screen television and the DVD player are going into the day room."

The Rutson is mainly a rehabilitation hospital catering for long-stay patients suffering from strokes, amputations or road accident injuries.

It opened in 1877 and was used to nurse wounded soldiers during the First World War. During the Second World War it acted as a casualty clearing hospital, relying on help from volunteers and financial support from members of the public.

Anyone wanting to donate equipment can drop it off at Curry's in High Street, North-allerton, and B&Q, and Sam Turner in the town, West Tanfield Post Office, the Friarage Hospital League of Friends' shop and coffee bar, the Freemasons Arms, Nosterfield, and North Stainley Garage.

Anyone wishing to donate to the Entertainment Appeal by cheque or postal order is asked to make them payable to the Rutson Rehabilitation Hospital.