STAFF at the Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH) have celebrated 180 years of caring for the community.

An exhibition showcasing the history and heroes who have made the hospital a success is on display to mark the milestone.

To add to the celebrations, a commemorative flag was raised in the hospital garden, featuring the crest that was given to mark the 100th anniversary.

Steve McManus, chief executive, said: “We are all incredibly proud to be standing here, to celebrate the huge role the Royal Berkshire Hospital has had in caring for the health and wellbeing of the local community.

"We can see some of the contributions made through history at the hospital, starting a tradition of innovation and development that is still being carried out by the dedicated, professional, caring and forward thinking people who are working here today.

"I know we can look forward to many more success stories to adorn our corridors for many years to come."

The hospital's first foundation stone was laid in May 1837 and additional wings were constructed in the 1860's along with a chapel in the rear of the main block.

The RBH began treating patients in 1839, with the first entry in the 30th May's hand-written admission ledger naming this 'in-patient' as fifteen-year-old George Earley, who had broken his arm while working on the Great Western Railway.

Mr McManus added: "I would also like to say a huge thank you to all of our volunteers, and in particular our colleagues in the Medical Museum.

"The depth of their knowledge on the history of this hospital and healthcare in the region is limitless, and they have given so much of their time and energy to help us all make today as successful as it is.”

James Puxley, Lord Lieutenant of the Royal County of Berkshire, joined other dignitaries to share in the celebrations with staff and volunteers.