HARD WORKING members of staff have been thanked for their service as part of a hospital’s 30th anniversary celebrations.

The BMI Winterbourne Hospital, Dorchester, presented 33 workers – who together have served a combined 520 years at the Herringston Road site – with long-service pins at a special presentation.

Tessa Russell, Pippa James and Sarah Sclater – daughters of the hospital’s late founder and trust chairman Simon Chick – presented bouquets to three members of staff who have worked at the hospital since it opened.

Outpatient sister Fenella Best, who started working at the private hospital as a senior staff nurse in 1982, said: “There was a real sense of excitement in the run up to the hospital opening.

“Before the first day we did several practice night shifts which helped us to ensure the wards ran smoothly once the patients arrived.

“Since the early days the hospital has changed dramatically and we now offer patients many more services and treatments.”

She added: “I’ve been involved in lots of projects from the introduction of services to developing a whole new outpatient department, 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.”

Over the past 30 years the hospital has seen its services grow to include fertility, hydrotherapy and imaging.

Former NHS nurse Theresa Starling was appointed as the hospital’s new chief in August and hopes to expand on the hospital’s high dependency unit to increase the level of complex surgery available.

At the time of her appointment she said: “The hospital has huge potential ... we must strive to be the best and offer our patients state-of-the-art facilities.”

Get your photo contest entries in

TIME is running out for talented photographers to get snapping and enter the Winterbourne Hospital’s 30th anniversary competition.

The Echo-backed 30 Pictures to Celebrate 30 Years photography contest is looking for beautiful pictures of the community’s favourite local spots.

Your photograph could bring patients at the private hospital cheer if it is selected for display in one of the patient bedrooms.

A first prize of £500 is up for grabs, with the runner-up receiving £250 and the photographer in third place awarded £100.

All entries will be printed in the Echo on Monday, October 8 for the public to vote for their favourite.

The top 30 finalists will be invited to an unveiling ceremony at the hospital later this month where the top three will be announced.

To enter, email your photograph with your name, address and contact number to debbie.hellaby@dorsetecho.co.uk by tonight.