HERE we go!
After years of planning and preparation, a new, state-of-the-art cancer care and renal dialysis unit has begun to rise from its foundations at West Berkshire Community Hospital.
And on Friday, the team who have worked hard to make the dream a reality met on site to celebrate.
Newbury and Thatcham Hospital Building Trust (NTHBT) first proposed the renal facility in 2014 and subsequently invited the Newbury and District Cancer Care Trust (NDCCT) to site the proposed cancer unit there too.
The renal dialysis centre will be on the ground floor, with the cancer centre on the first floor, providing essential facilities to the local community, including day therapy, chemotherapy, renal dialysis, IV therapies and a CT scanner.
The fundraising project is named The Rosemary Appeal in honour of Rosemary Rooke, whose original bequest led to the building of the present community hospital.
A decision was recently taken to name the new unit the Greenham Trust Wing in recognition of the huge generosity shown towards the appeal by the Greenham Trust, which has donated more than £1m.
Among the unsung heroes behind the venture, who have conceived and driven it from the start, are the chairman of The Newbury and District Cancer Care Trust, David Ball, Dr Rob Tayton of the NTHBT, cancer care trust founder and trustee Dr Paul Millard and hospital trust trustees Peter Gubb and Nick Galbraith – many of whom also helped make the entire community hospital a reality.
As he watched construction work on site, Dr Tayton said: “Two charities have worked very closely together to bring this to fruition.
“The response from the community has been exceedingly generous.”
Dr Millard agreed: “The appeal has been hugely successful so far – but we do still need more.”
Among those working for contractor Cuffe is someone who is familiar with the site – Phil Desio worked on the original hospital building before it opened in March, 2004.
The construction of the unit will not affect the running of the main hospital and it is hoped that the first patients will be being treated at the Greenham Trust Wing by February or March next year.