Hospital refuses donation from men dressed as nurses
Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust said the female costumes were 'insulting'.
Hospital bosses have refused to accept a charitable donation raised by men dressed as female nurses, saying the fundraisers' costumes were "insulting".
Locals raised £2,500 for Ludlow Hospital, but administrators with the Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust turned down the money saying the fundraisers' dress was "highly-sexualised" and "demeaning".
The annual Ludlow Bed Push - which seems participants in fancy dress out collecting funds, these days without a hospital bed as modern ones are too valuable - has raised about £90,000 since 1987.
But in a letter to the Ludlow Hospital League of Friends this year, Jan Ditheridge, chief executive of the trust, said she was uncomfortable with how the event had portrayed medics.
Ms Ditheridge and the chair of the trust, Mike Ridley, said: "The presentation of men dressed as female nurses in a highly-sexualised and demeaning way is wrong, very outdated and insulting to the profession."
As a consequence, they said, they were refusing to accept the donation.
Peter Corfield, chairman of the League of Friends of Ludlow Hospital, said he called the refusal of the cash "absolutely ridiculous".
"The event has always run with the full knowledge and support of the hospital and primary care trust management with participation by NHS staff.
"The whole thing is a light-hearted fundraiser which has raised between £2,500 and £6,500 each year and so over that period of time it's a very tidy sum."
Mr Corfield said all of those who took part in the bed push had the greatest respect for Ludlow Hospital and its staff, and many of the participants had firsthand experience of using the hospital's services.
"We will hold on to the £2,500, together with other funds we have got, and we will see how this pans out because we are just flabbergasted by [the trust's] decision," he said.
Health boss Ms Ditheridge said: "It isn't okay to portray healthcare professionals in this way.
"We have previously asked that this doesn't happen and therefore don't think it's right to accept any money associated with this activity."
The fancy dress fundraisers were local residents Mark Hiles, Ricky Peers, 28, Simon Morgan, 37, Bill Wilson, 69, Mark Watkins, 46, Mick Griffiths, 62, Adam Griffiths, 46, and his six year old son George Griffiths.
They work as a mixture of lorry drivers, poultry farm workers, telecom engineers and builders in and around Ludlow.
Simon Morgan, 37, a telephone engineer, said: "I've done it several times over the years and we have a great crack each time.
"The biggest feeling for me is disappointment ... It was raised in good faith and to my knowledge we had no complaints."