Work starts at Huntingdon cancer centre after community pulls together to raise more than £600,000

Woodlands staff who have led the fundraising, with, front, hospital chief executive Hisham Abdel-Rah

Woodlands staff who have led the fundraising, with, front, hospital chief executive Hisham Abdel-Rahman. - Credit: Archant

Work on providing vital extra space for patients at Woodlands Cancer Centre started this week and Hunts Post readers helped make it happen.

Our campaign backing the staff’s extension appeal for the Hinchingbrooke Hospital unit has played a major role in raising more than £600,000.

Readers were challenged to get involved and the response has been amazing, with people throwing themselves into countless fundraisers for our cancer centre, including our own Two Wheels for Woodlands cycle ride.

This week also marks the announcement of a significant shift in the ambition of the project, and an exciting fundraising partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support.

Momentum provided by members of the public who gave up their time and effort to raise vast sums for the appeal has led to a huge upgrade of the plans for the extension.

As well as being bigger than originally envisaged, the extended unit will be among the best-equipped in the country, and will be fitted out with state-of-the-art equipment.

Crucially, it will allow more people to receive treatment for cancer, with more space for patients, their families and staff, in more comfortable surroundings.

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Woodlands lead nurse Lynda Hall said: “We wouldn’t be at this point without The Hunts Post and its readers. Thanks so much to all those who bought a brick, backed a duck and baked a cake for the appeal. The support from the public has been amazing.”

But more money is required to pay for the development, which has seen its estimated cost of £800,000 to £1million increase to £2.4m.

Extra funds have already been made available. Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust is matching what has already been raised with a £600,000 donation from its Charitable Funds Committee, legacies left to the hospital.

And Macmillan is launching an ambitious fundraising campaign to raise the remaining £1.2m.