CLOSE relatives of a patient who passed away nine years ago following a car crash in Royton have given back to The Royal Oldham Hospital in a very special way by fundraising more than £40,000 to buy life-saving equipment for its A&E department.

The family of Billy Cooney have worked tirelessly since Billy’s death in 2010 to fundraise with special "Billy Fun Days", a celebrity football match and by running in numerous 10K events, including the Manchester 10k.

The result of all their tremendous efforts is a £40,000 fund which is being used to purchase life-saving equipment, helping to save the lives of many patients who end up in a critical condition in A&E.

The family has asked that the funds are used to purchase an anaesthetic machine and a Difficult Airway Trolley. They also want to say a big thank you to the many people who have donated and got involved with the fundraising over the years.

Vanessa Cooney, Billy’s sister, explained why the donation to the hospital has been important to the family.

She said: “It was really important to all the family that we did something positive to remember Billy. We wanted to say thank you to the hospital for the care they provided and to ensure a lasting legacy for Billy. Billy was such a special lad. He was actually an organ donor, but in the event of his death, was actually unable to give his organs because it was slightly too late for his organs to be used to save the lives of other patients.

“As a family, we wanted to ensure that Billy’s life was remembered and celebrated. Even though Billy’s organs couldn’t be used to save a life, we hope that the equipment that has been purchased will go on to save many more lives.”

The Cooney family attended the A&E department at Oldham to present the life-saving equipment to the A&E team, who were overwhelmed at the efforts of the family to fundraise for the department. The team showed their gratitude by unveiling a plaque revealing a bay dedicated specially to the memory of Billy called "Billy’s Bay".

The plaque was unveiled by Dr Jim McCahill, emergency department consultant, who gave a speech thanking the family for their generosity.

He said: “It is a privilege to unveil ‘Billy’s Bay’. We cannot thank the Cooney family enough for their very generous donation to the hospital. Billy’s memory will live on in the A&E department for many years and the equipment purchased will go onto save the lives of many people in Oldham. That is a very special thing.”

Billy’s Bay has been launched just ahead of the ninth anniversary of Billy’s passing and the launch of Billy’s Bay was an emotional, but very special way for the family to pause, reflect and remember the life of their special son.