Staff and invited guests celebrated the opening of the first section of the newly extended Macmillan Woodlands Centre with a ribbon-cutting ceremony last Wednesday (August 30). Carol Croft, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and treated in the original Woodlands unit, said: The care I received at Hinchingbrooke was excellent but the centre was always squeezed full of people waiting for treatment. On one day, after a cluster of bank holidays, some people even had to wait outside. Often my husband would give up his seat for people in the waiting room. In the chemotherapy room he would have to keep moving around to make room for the nurses too. I needed him with me but I could see he felt he was in the way. The new centre looks incredible. Theres so much room for patients, their loved ones and staff to interact calmly and privately. To have a facility like this on your doorstep when youve got cancer, rather than having to travel for hours, is such a comfort. I know this will make a huge difference to the people of Huntingdon. As patients enjoy the new centre work has begun on refurbishing the old wing. By early 2017 the fully completed Macmillan Woodlands Centre will bring together all cancer services at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in a new environment designed with patients at its heart. The recent extension features a spacious waiting room to relax in before appointments, several consulting rooms to give patients the privacy and dignity they deserve and large treatment bays. There is also a dedicated area for the Macmillan information and support centre which provides resources to anyone with questions or concerns about cancer. Lynda Hall is the lead nurse for cancer and palliative care at the Woodlands Centre. She said: In 2009 we had to move patients needing blood transfusions to a separate unit because we simply didnt have enough space. The centre brings all our cancer services back under one roof and creates new space for staff too. Currently we only have a little room, no bigger than a cupboard, for nurses to get everything ready for chemotherapy treatments. Now we will have dedicated rooms to prepare and provide treatment. Lynda praised The Hunts Post for throwing its weight behind the vision for a new Macmillan Woodlands Centre. The newspaper has consistently supported the fundraising appeal, beginning with the buy a brick campaign in 2013. She said: Having the Hunts Post firmly behind the appeal is really encouraging and makes a big difference as we head towards our goal, she said. Want to support the £1.2 million fundraising appeal for the Macmillan Woodlands Centre? Call Macmillan on 0300 1000 200 or visit www.macmillan.org.uk/donate/macmillan-projects/hinchingbrooke.html.