THE volunteer-run Inverclyde Royal tea bar donated an incredible £100,000 to help the hospital's fight to save lives during the pandemic.

Against all the odds the heroes at the Helen Wyllie Tea Bar continued to serve refreshments and raise vital cash for wards.

As the hospital found itself on the frontline of the pandemic the League of Friends tea bar team responded by providing lifeline equipment as well as iPads, radios and televisions to support patients.

On top of this the volunteers provided food and drink for a much-needed staff hub in the hospital grounds.

League of Hospital Friends chairman Peter Hempsey said: "It has not been an easy year for anyone.

"But I think the hospital staff have really appreciated us being there for them.

"We have managed to continue to donate vital equipment to the wards that have needed it.

"In particular in the last year patients have needed radios and iPads because they have had no visitors.

"We are completely committed to helping the hospital in whatever way we can."

As the coronavirus crisis unfolded the charity donated the likes of mobile shower commodes, reclining armchairs and mobile controllers.

Funds raised at the tea bar also covered the cost of a £35,000 imaging stack for use in biopsies, as well as a £12,000 surgery trolley.

A wellness chair was also purchased for mental health inpatient services.

Before Covid-19 struck the charity was able to foot the bill for the refurbishment of the resuscitation training room too.

On top of this the dedicated volunteers also supplied staff with refreshments and set up a takeaway service when restrictions allowed.

Peter said: "We managed to supply food to the rest and recuperation hub set up for staff during the first lockdown.

"It has been a really tough year for everyone and we have not been able to use as many volunteers as usual because of shielding.

"But we have had a core who have been able to continue to work with us since October.

"I can't thank our committed volunteers enough.

"Our footfall has obviously been affected, but we hope things will pick up as restrictions lift."

Tea bar volunteers Anne Armour, Helen Cunningham and Isobel Robinson are among around 30 who have continued to work throughout the pandemic.

Anne said: "It is great to come along and support the staff in all the important work they do, and it gets us out of the house as well."

Isobel added: "The tea bar means so much to people."

Since October the tea bar has operated a takeaway offering, but they hope to be able to return to table based service again soon.

Student IRH radiographer Beth Mackenzie has poured praise on the tea bar team.

Beth said: "I don't know what we would do without them - they keep us going and we can't thank them enough for their support."