ORGANISERS of the £4.5m Rosemary Appeal, to build a state-of-the-art cancer and renal unit in Newbury, want to harness pupil power.
Local schools are being invited to participate in Rosemary Appeal Week next month and to help spread the good news about the project.
Appeal trustees point out that everyone, both young and old, will be touched in some way by cancer.
Work is already under way to build the modern, highly-equipped facility, delivering advanced care to renal and cancer patients at the Rosemary Centre at West Berkshire Community Hospital.
It is due to open this summer, meaning cancer and renal patients will benefit from early diagnosis, better treatment and shortened journeys.
The complex will be named The Rosemary Centre in honour of Rosemary Rooke, whose original bequest led to the building of the present community hospital.
The Rosemary Appeal aims to engage the public in helping to fund the building and is being run jointly by the Newbury and District Cancer Care Trust (NDCCT) and the Newbury and Thatcham Hospital Building Trust.
Spearheading Rosemary Appeal Week is Newbury and NDCCT trustee Mike Hart, who was a PE teacher for 44 years at St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury, and a head of house.
He has written to 35 schools and invited headteachers to encourage pupils and parents to get involved in the fundraising week beginning on February 6.
In his letter he writes: “It is my intention to launch [the appeal week] whereby schools would be able to stage one or more fundraising activities which would not only provide essential funds but, just as importantly, spread the word of just how fortunate we are to have this ray of hope on the horizon.
“To this end the Newbury Weekly News is committed to raising the profile of this venture in as many ways as possible and will be interested to hear from any schools who adopt a Rosemary Appeal Week.”
Although the proposed start date is February 6, Mr Hart acknowledged that individual schools may choose alternative dates due to other commitments.
He added: “As a former local teacher myself, I’m fully aware that all schools are already supporting charities which are dear to their hearts and this appeal is not intended to hinder that essential work.
“However there is no doubt, unfortunately, that every single person in our community has been or will be touched in some way by cancer, and that this project will change the lives of everyone significantly in the future.
“It is for this reason I have no hesitation in seeking your support.”
Building has already begun because huge amounts have already been raised in donations, pledges and interest-free loans which will need to be repaid through fundraising.
For more on the appeal, visit www.rosemaryappeal.org
To publicise your school’s Rosemary Appeal Week event, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone John Garvey on (01635) 564 528.