A millionaire whose funding has helped to pay for a new £9m cancer centre at Harrogate Hospital was invited back this week to cut the first turf.
Businessman Sir Robert Ogden, who donated £3.5m to the cause, was asked to mark the occasion on Tuesday by turning the first sod.
Speaking before dignitaries gathered at the site at Harrogate Hospital, he said it was a “great honour” to have been a part of the project.
“I know Yorkshire people, all you need to do is show there’s a need and people will give generously,” he said.
“This money has been spent very wisely and I’m sure it will be a great success.”
The new state-of-the-art cancer centre is expected to be built by autumn next year, to provide comfortable facilities for people who are suffering from cancer.
Nurse Tricia Feber was the one who first came up with the idea. She spotted the site’s potential and pitched her plan to Sir Robert when he came with Macmillan Cancer Support to look at options for transforming an existing site.
“I’ve thought we needed a new cancer centre since I first set foot in the current one,” she said. “It’s so cramped and too hot, it’s so unsuitable for people with cancer. When you’re really ill you need nice surroundings, it does make you feel better.
“It was very easy to convince Sir Robert, he seemed quite taken with the idea. Coming up with the business case was the hard work.”
The new centre will be specifically built to help patients suffering from cancer. It will be spacious and airy, with more room for nurses and patients, allowing them more dignity and privacy, with provision for local support groups.
Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones said it was a much-needed service which would greatly benefit the people of Harrogate.
“It’s needed,” he said. “Patients have to travel to York or Leeds, yet if you’re going through cancer treatments it’s uncomfortable. The closer we can provide care the better.”