Actor thanks medics for saving his life

FORMER EastEnders star Ian Lavender has described how a Suffolk hospital saved his life after opening its £3.5 million refurbished radiology department.

FORMER EastEnders star Ian Lavender has described how a Suffolk hospital saved his life after opening its £3.5 million refurbished radiology department.

The Suffolk-based actor, who found fame as Private Pike in Dad's Army, hailed staff at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds who cared for him when he suffered a heart attack two years ago.

He said: “It is an honour and privilege to be here as I have been treated by this hospital several times.

“It is nice to enter the x-ray unit standing up rather than lying flat on my back in a bed. It is a privilege to be able to give something back to a hospital who gave me my life back.”


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Mr Lavender, from Woolpit, also took time out to lend his support to campaigners fighting to save vital beds and services in a bid to ease crippling finances at the West Suffolk and across the county.

He said: “You hear all these stories about losing beds or hospitals closing and it can't be allowed to happen.

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“These are our hospitals and they are all rather special and any cuts would seriously affect ordinary people.”

Mr Lavender cut the ribbon on the new radiology department during an open day on Saturday. Visitors were given the chance to have hands-on experience and see how the new gamma camera, CT scanners, ultrasound units and digital scanners work.

Radiography services manager Nigel Beeton told the EADT: “The unit was built in 1973 and was ok but not fit for the needs of the 21st century.

“The biggest problem we had was that many patients were stuck in beds in a corridor – it was not dignified.

“We didn't think this was the standard we should be working to but I am now thrilled to bits with the new unit. It is not often you have a project of this scale which is completed on time and under budget.”

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