Celebration as work starts on North Devon’s new chemo unit

14:08 04 February 2014

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We've done it! Trust staff, fundraisers, dignitaries, local mayors, supporters and builders all gather to celebrate the first turf cut for the new chemotherapy unit.

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Momentous moment as the first turf cut is made on World Cancer Day to begin work on North Devon District Hospital’s new £2.2million unit.

Making the first turf cut for the new unit are fundraisers Julie Whitton and Ian Roome, trust chairman Roger French, chief executive Jac Kelly, James Bonetta of North Devon Cancer Care Trust, Sharon Bates trust divisional support manager, Charlotte Overney, lead nurse for cancer services and Dr Brian Attock.Making the first turf cut for the new unit are fundraisers Julie Whitton and Ian Roome, trust chairman Roger French, chief executive Jac Kelly, James Bonetta of North Devon Cancer Care Trust, Sharon Bates trust divisional support manager, Charlotte Overney, lead nurse for cancer services and Dr Brian Attock.

WORK began today (Tuesday) on a brand new chemotherapy and day treatment unit at North Devon District Hospital.

Almost three years to the day an ambitious £2.2 million appeal was officially launched in the North Devon Gazette, an official turf-cutting ceremony was held to coincide with World Cancer Day.

Roger French, chairman of Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, called it a ‘momentous’ moment for North Devon.

“It’s over 15 years since the idea of a self-contained chemo unit was first raised, to save some patients from the long and time-consuming journey to Exeter,” he said.

“Today marks a highly visible and long-awaited step in improving the facilities we offer for people who look to us for their treatment and care, close to home.

“I want to thank those people across our local community who have given their spare time and their spare cash for such a worthy cause.

“Whether it was a pound in a collecting bucket or a sizeable cheque from one of our major donors, I thank you all on behalf of the Trust. You are the reason why we are here today.”

Mr French also paid tribute to Ian Roome, Julie Whitton and all those on the fundraising team who had helped to drive the appeal forward.

Gazette readers have pledged their unfaltering support to the fundraising campaign, leaving a legacy for local cancer patients and their families for generations to come.

To date, more than £1.88 million has been raised and hospital bosses are calling on local people to dig deep to find the remaining £350,000 needed.

Sharon Bates, the Trust’s divisional general manager for clinical support services, said: “We would like to reiterate our gratitude for the amazing fundraising support we have received from so many people over the last three years.

“While we are all excited that the building work is about to start, we mustn’t forget that we still need to find more than £350,000 to complete the project.

“If you’d like to raise crucial funds for the Chemotherapy Appeal during 2014 and help to push us over the finishing line, we would love to hear from you.”

Fundraising manager Ian Roome was delighted to see the project get underway: “From the embryo of starting the appeal in January 2011, to see building work start now is absolutely fantastic,” he said.

“It is also a bonus that most of the work will be carried out by local contractors, allowing the money spent on this to stay here in North Devon.

“What makes it extra special is that this is on World Cancer Day, a global day of uniting against this dreadful disease and this is our opportunity to step up the fight against cancer locally.”

The fundraising team can be contacted on 01271 311772 or at ndht.charity@nhs.net, while people can donate direct by going to www.northdevonhealth.nhs.uk/fundraising.

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