Brighter Futures fundraisers were treated to a surprise flash mob singing Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ at the Great Western Hospital this morning to celebrate the success of the charity’s Radiotherapy Appeal.
Brighter Futures has been raising money for a new radiotherapy centre, which will be built and run by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and located at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon.
Local businesses and community groups joined the charity to celebrate the impressive fundraising efforts, which helped raise £2.9 million to equip a new centre, which will bring radiotherapy closer to home for thousands of cancer patients.
Patients and visitors were joined by members of local Rotary Clubs, the Nepalese Association, Moose International and Ladies Circle, WHSmith, TE Connectivity, XPO, Malmesbury and Savernake League of Friends groups, and Dr Thomas Cranston Wilson Charitable Trust, alongside many other groups.
Guests were welcomed by Roger Hill, Chair of Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Dr Claire Hobbs, Head of Radiotherapy at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who spoke about the building project, the expansion of the service and the partnership between the two Trusts.
Following speeches, attendees enjoyed refreshments in the hospital restaurant and shared their personal stories and inspirational fundraising achievements.
The appeal, which launched in May 2015, has seen hundreds of local people across Swindon and the surrounding areas take part in a variety of fundraising activities to raise the £2.9 million.
Supporters have jumped out of planes, cycled across the UK, motored to Cyprus and Mongolia, walked from Oxford to Swindon, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, taken on the London Marathon and Great North and South runs. Hundreds more local people have hosted bingo nights, cake sales, tea parties, discos and head shaves, among many other activities.
Local organisations have also donated large sums to support the appeal, with the International Rotary Grant pledging a staggering £175,000.
Roger Hill, Chair at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have reached our target at Christmas, thanks to the generosity of local people, organisations and community groups.
“It’s been amazing to see the local community pull together and get behind the appeal, raising money in such creative, challenging and fun ways over the last three and a half years.
“Receiving radiotherapy treatment in Swindon will make a huge difference to the lives of so many people, saving over 13,000 journeys to Oxford every year.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported the Radiotherapy Appeal. This is an important milestone for the town and will make life easier for local cancer patients and their families for years to come.
“It’s great to see so many of our corporate supporters and local groups here today and we hope to invite more local people to a much bigger celebration event later in the summer.”
Dr Claire Hobbs, Head of Radiotherapy at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are very grateful to all the amazing people who have walked, climbed, partied, run and done all sorts of other extraordinary things to provide additional funding for our new radiotherapy centre.
“It is so exciting that we are another step down the road today. We were really pleased to be able to recently announce that our negotiations with the Department of Health are nearly complete and we hope to be able to start work this year.
“It has long been our ambition to be able to deliver radiotherapy in Swindon and reduce the number of journeys people have to take and provide our services nearer to patients’ homes.”
The £2.9 million raised by Brighter Futures will buy specialist equipment which will be used in the new centre to be built on the Great Western Hospital site. The service will be provided by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as an expansion of the service, currently provided from the Churchill Hospital in Oxford.
The two Trusts are now working together so that building work can begin as soon as possible, with the first spade in the ground expected to take place this summer.
The centre is expected to be open to patients in 2020.