North Devon’s new chemotherapy unit has celebrated a busy first year and its first birthday.

Since it opened on March 30, 2015, the Seamoor Unit has seen more than 10,000 patients, divided equally between the unit’s oncology and haematology services.

The £2.2million unit at North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple was made possible thanks to a four-year fundraising campaign promoted by the Gazette.

The region responded to raise the money, together with large donations from charitable trusts.

The main treatment area is named the Jennifer Bonetta Treatment Room in memory of the founder of North Devon Cancer Care, which donated hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Unit manager Emma Thoms said they had not known what to expect in the first year, but patients had been delighted in the difference to their former cramped, shared facility at the hospital.

“We had a lot of positive feedback from patients about the space and it being light and airy,” she said.

Before the unit was built, many patients still had to travel to Exeter for treatment. Now they can enjoy a better environment and an enhanced service that includes specialist nurses to offer telephone or face-to-face advice on dealing with side effects of treatment.

Fundraising manager Ian Roome said: “A huge thank-you to the people of North Devon and Cornwall for their dedicated fundraising.

“But our hospital charity Over and Above stills need to raise funds for additional medical services and equipment at the unit not available on the NHS.”

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