More good news for chemo fund

Joseph Bulmer

Local fund-raising group commits �250,000 to the appeal

THE North Devon Chemotherapy Appeal has been given a massive boost this week with news that the North Devon Cancer Care Centre Trust is to come on board with a �250,000 donation towards the �2.2 million project.

The local charity has been raising funds for cancer care in the region for the past 17 years and was instrumental in providing the first small chemotherapy unit at the North Devon District Hospital in 1995.

Since then it has continued to work towards an improved, purpose-built facility, while also providing other equipment and facilities for cancer care at the hospital.

For the past 13 years the charity has also run a vital transport link to and from their homes for cancer patients from the North Devon and Torridge areas needing regular radiotherapy in Exeter.

The charity was set up by Jennifer Bonetta of Northam after the death of her husband Tom from cancer.

Now aged 77, and despite being bedbound for the past seven months, Jennifer continues with the work with the aid of her son James, 10 trustees and many helpers. Everyone’s work for the Trust is voluntary.

James, who has taken particular responsibility for its work towards a new chemotherapy unit, said: “We have agreed to support the appeal and aim to collect alongside it and build on the �250,000 to, hopefully, contribute more in the future.

“We are delighted that Northern Devon Healthcare Trust is moving forward with this project. We have worked for many years towards providing a new chemotherapy unit. Having instigated the first unit in Barnstaple, this has always been a key aim. We and our trustees are delighted to support this initiative.”

Ian Roome, fund raising manager of the Chemotherapy Appeal, said the donation had given the fledgling appeal a massive boost.

“We are very thankful that the North Devon Cancer Care Centre Trust has come on board,” he said.

“Its major contribution has given momentum and added strength to our appeal. We also welcome their continuing support and that of everyone in North Devon as we still have a long way to go to bring all our hopes to reality.”

NDCCCT had funded the original small unit and helped with the move to its present site following redevelopment work at the hospital, he said. It had also contributed to setting up a pharmacy for the preparation of chemotherapy drugs. But the existing unit was housed in what was not really a suitable space and was not big enough.

“When the unit was moved it was made clear that it was only to be temporary and everyone was looking for something better,” said James.

“While we have been waiting we have provided various equipment for the cancer areas in the hospital, including a video conferencing facility, enabling patients to talk directly with specialists in Exeter and allowing consultation between medical staff, something we have been told could be followed in other areas. But an improved chemotherapy unit has always been our favoured project.”

Jennifer said: “We are extremely grateful for the generous donations we have received from people in North Devon over the years, but we want to point out that this isn’t the end of our involvement with the project. We hope that people will continue to support us in our fundraising efforts for the unit.”

A major fund raiser for the NDCCT is its charity shop in Westward Ho! Regular Sunday night quizzes, now held at Johnny’s Bar in Mill Street, Bideford, are also popular.

Katie Cross, lead clinician for cancer at Northern Devon Healthcare Trust, said the charity had made a real difference to cancer patients in North Devon.

“This donation is absolutely fantastic and we are all very grateful to the charity for their support in helping us build a better service for patients,” she said.

“The response to this appeal from the community has been phenomenal but we have still got some way to go before we reach our target of �2.2million.

“We have a number of fund-raising events planned throughout the year and I would encourage anyone who may be organising their own event to consider the Chemotherapy Appeal.”


To find out more about the appeal and ways in which you can help, visit the campaign website – or telephone fund-raising manager Ian Roome on (01271) 311772 or email or

Alternatively, visit the special appeal page on the Gazette website –