A WREXHAM charity has raised thousands of pounds over the years to help hospital patients, but is now appealing for help itself during the coronavirus crisis.

In a matter of weeks, the coronavirus pandemic has brought the country to its knees and NHS staff are working around the clock in the fight to save lives.

The Leader has launched a campaign to give readers a chance to say 'thank you' to the heroes who are forsaking their own health and wellbeing, to put ours first.

The Wrexham League of Friends has, and will continue to, lose out on a lot of vital money after being forced to close its two shops - their main source of income.

We are now asking our readers to support them in their time of need, after they have spent more than 50 years helping hospital patients.

Susan Perry, Group Editor, Newsquest, North Wales said: "These are unprecedented times we are living in. They are difficult times for us all but particularly difficult for charities who at the moment are unable to raise vital funds.

"This is why we are asking our amazing Leader readers to dig deep and help support the Wrexham Maelor Hospital's League of Friends.

"Over the years the league has raised tens of thousands of pounds to buy much needed equipment for the hospital.

"Due to the virus outbreak they have had to close one of their most important funding sources, their shops.

"If you think you can help, any size of donation will be gratefully received and all monies will go to the league, who will make sure the hospital, which is on the frontline of the battle against this pandemic, is put to good use.

"Many thanks and please stay safe, keep indoors and protect our NHS."

The Friends was established in 1968 and the objective is to raise funds to purchase equipment, often specialist, when hospital funding is unavailable. The equipment is used within the Wrexham Maelor Hospital for both inpatient and outpatient use.

The main source of income for this vital charity came from its two shops, which until last week, were operating on a daily basis within the hospital building. With those shops now closed, an all-important income generating stream and vital service to both patients and staff has been lost.

As well as the closure of the shops, the charity has been forced to make even more difficult decisions, as three staff have been laid off.

The 150 volunteers who man the shops on a rota basis, have all been left with nothing to do and fears of how the future will look.

Margaret Brayden, who has been chairman of the Friends for the last 15 years and is due to celebrate her 40th year working for the charity next year, said the campaign would help the charity greatly.

She said: "Our shops are our main source of fundraising and of course they aren't just used by patients, but visitors as well.

"We also had a trolley service that went around with goods on the trolley for patients who couldn't get to the shops.

"Closing the shops has cost us a lot of money, money that we need to buy specialist equipment that the different departments need.

"Even though we are based in the hospital, we are a separate charity fundraising for the Maelor alone. It doesn't go anywhere else but now, we can't give a service to those people that really need it.

"We will also have lost a lot of stock that goes out of date, it's just terrible."

If you can help the charity at all, it will go a long way to ensure the charity can help those that need to use Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

Visit the fundraising page here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-the-league-of-friends