Woodlands Cancer Centre appeal reaches £500,000 milestone

Huntingdon Freemans Trust handover £50,000 to the Woodlands Centre, (l-r) Peter Howlett, Fundraising

Huntingdon Freemans Trust handover £50,000 to the Woodlands Centre, (l-r) Peter Howlett, Fundraising Co-ordinator Gini Melesi, Karen Clark, Ruth Black, James Fell, Nurse Cheryl Goodwin, and Richard Hough. - Credit: Archant

The appeal to raise £800,000 for an extension to the Woodlands Cancer Centre has reached the £500,000 mark.

Staff, patients, their friends and families, and supporters of the Hinchingbrooke Hospital unit have been raising funds since the end of 2012.

Backed by The Hunts Post, the campaign broke the half-a-million milestone this week with the presentation of £50,000 on Monday (May 12) from the Huntingdon Freemen’s Trust – the biggest single donation so far.

The money will go towards funding a new building housing state-of-the-art facilities so more people diagnosed with cancer can be treated in Huntingdon.

Woodlands Centre administrator Karen Pryor said: “Thanks to everyone who has helped with our quest to raise funds for this much-needed extension.

“We are so grateful to all those who have given up their time to help the appeal or who have made a donation, whatever its size.

“It has been a fantastic effort by so many people to get this far.”

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Methods used to persuade people to part with their cash have ranged from individuals such as Eaton Socon plumber Steve Sargeant who was sponsored to wear shorts throughout the winter to team efforts such as the McCawley family who walked around Grafham Water.

In the absence of any NHS funding for the project, staff have been at the forefront of the fundraising, organising events including a duck race in St Neots featuring nearly 2,000 plastic ducks, a car boot sale in the hospital car park and a burlesque dinner and dance.

Buy a Brick – people making a donation for a virtual building block – was the brainchild of former patient Carol Croft and has raised more than £11,000.

And The Hunts Post is organising Two Wheels for Woodlands on Sunday, June 29, a charity cycle which has already attracted more than 200 people who will ride either a 30, 60 or 100-mile route around Huntingdonshire, or a family-friendly seven-mile circuit at Alconbury Weald.

The fundraising might have reached a significant landmark but there is still a long way to go.

Future events include a team from the unit taking part in the Huntingdon 10k at Alconbury Weald on Sunday, June 15. They will also be joining Two Wheels for Woodlands.

And even further ahead – and further afield for that matter – a trek in Nepal in aid of the appeal is being planned.

Mrs Pryor added: “There’s still a long way to go but we know we will be able to make our target with the continued support of the people of Huntingdonshire and their friends and families.”

INFORMATION: For more on Two Wheels for Woodlands, visit www.huntspost24.co.uk and click here.