Hopes of a start on North Devon's new chemotherapy unit have been boosted with news of a generous early Christmas present.
The Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund has made a grant of £60,000 to help take the appeal total to around £1.4 million, almost two thirds of the £2.2 million needed for the new unit at North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple.
It is hoped the extra boost will provide even more inspiration to the people of North Devon – who have already shown such fantastic support – to make one final push for the target.
"People have been magnificent up to now and we could not have expected anything better, but if we all really get behind it for one last effort there is no reason why we can't make this a reality and start work sometime next year," said Ian Roome, appeal fund raising manager.
"We are absolutely delighted the Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund trustees have decided to award this money to the appeal, especially at this time of year when the emphasis on giving is more important than ever."
The charity was established under the Will of the late James Sainsbury CBE – of the famous supermarket chain family – in memory of English film actress Kay Kendall, who died of leukaemia in 1959. The Fund is one of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts.
The charity awards grants to organisations for research on aspects of leukaemia and for relevant studies on related haematological malignancies and also makes grants, such as this one, to initiatives that will have a significant benefit to patients with leukaemia and other haematological cancers.
"It is fantastic news, as the fund raising team and staff here at the hospital have been working hard with the charity to demonstrate the vital role the new unit will play in helping not only cancer patients but also those with haematology problems," added Mr Roome.
"It will be a dedicated centre of excellence to treat people in North Devon and the surrounding areas. Now we urge anyone who has any money to give this Christmas or who wants to help others, to please contact us."
To make a donation or organise your own event in support of the appeal, call Julie Whitton on 01271 311772, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the 'How to donate' page here