MONEY raised during a controversial charity bed push in Ludlow has been used to equip to paramedics with lifesaving ‘heart start’ machines.

The money was to have been used for Ludlow Hospital but was turned down by health chiefs on the grounds that the way in which the money was raised was not politically correct.

In a letter to Peter Corfield, Chairman of the League of Friends at Ludlow Hospital, the Trust’s chief executive Jan Ditheridge and chairman Mike Ridley say they had made it known last year that they were unhappy with the way the money is collected.

However, the decision provoked a storm of protest with thousands of people signing an on-line petition calling for a change of heart.

The issue went international and a couple from the south of France who donated to the bed push during a visit to Ludlow said that they would match the donation on condition that there was an apology for refusing the money.

Ludlow MP and Health Minister Philip Dunne also wanted the NHS Trust to think again.

The MP has expressed his surprise at the revelation that Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust (ShropCom) had declined to accept a £2,500 donation from the League of Friends of Ludlow Community Hospital.

It was collected as part of the ‘bed push’ that has been an annual event in Ludlow for more than a quarter of a century.

This involves men dressing up as nurses and other health workers to collect donations and has been taking place for many years.

But the chiefs at the Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust said they would not accept the money because it involved the demeaning and sexualisation of nurses and NHS staff.

Following the refusal The Ludlow Hospital League of Friends was determined that local residents and visitors, who had so donated £2,500 in support of The League should see some long-term local benefit.

“For some time concerns have been raised about the length of time it takes for Ambulances or Paramedics to get to incidents in the Town, particularly when events such as the Spring Fair or Food Festival attract so many visitors, or if the A49 is busy or closed – it is a large and sparsely populated area that often makes access in an emergency very difficult” said Peter Corfield, the Chairman of The League.