Staff and patients raised a cup to mark the start of building work on The Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre at the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton, as part of the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.
The annual Macmillan Cancer Support charity event this year coincided with construction getting underway on the new multi-million pound cancer centre at the hospital, which is being funded by local philanthropist Sir Robert Ogden, Macmillan and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Macmillan Volunteers and Friarage Hospital staff and patients were joined by Lady Halifax, President of Macmillan Cancer Support, Siobhan McArdle, Chief Executive of the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Rishi Sunak, Conservative MP for Richmond.
Siobhan McArdle said: “We are very excited that, in partnership with Macmillan, Sir Robert and Lady Ogden and Interserve, we are now starting to see this ambitious project come to life on our Friarage site.
“The fact it coincided with Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee morning made it the perfect time to celebrate the progress being made on the centre, which will enable us to further enhance our delivery of cancer services closer to the population we serve.
“This new development, which staff and patients will see beginning to take shape over the coming months, demonstrates our long-term commitment to delivering clinically safe and sustainable services to the people of Hambleton, Richmondshire, Whitby and the surrounding area from the hospital.”
Rishi Sunak MP said it was “incredibly exciting” to see this new development taking shape at the Northallerton Hospital and welcomed the “generous donation” of Sir Robert and Lady Ogden.
He said: “It will mean that cancer treatment here is going to get even better, which is great for the local community.”
Lady Halifax added: “This would not have happened without the huge support of Sir Robert and Lady Ogden, who have been so generous to us over the years and who are supporting us yet again in this really exciting project.”
Paul McCavana, Macmillan Head of Services in the North, said it was great to see the start of building work on the centre following three years of planning.
“This project sees Sir Robert and Lady Ogden, the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Macmillan all working together to improve the lives and experiences of people with cancer,” said Mr McCavana,
“We couldn’t do it without one another. It’s a great example of partnership working at its best.”
Nicky Hand, Lead Cancer Nurse at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The new Macmillan Cancer Centre will mean we can treat more patients closer to home in a beautiful environment with a relaxed atmosphere.
“It will allow patients to look beyond their cancer and be supported nearer to their loved ones.”
The centre will cost in the region of £10m, providing a modern, state-of-the-art facility for cancer patients, their carers’ and relatives and include a chemotherapy treatment lounge with capacity to treat up to 35 patients a day, complementary therapy facilities and treatment and consulting rooms.
A Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre and supporting accommodation for patients, which will include telemedicine facilities, will also be key features of the development.
Brian Durlik, 57, of Richmond, who underwent both surgical and chemotherapy treatment for bowel cancer in 2016, was a special guest at today’s event.
His cancer diagnosis also led to the discovery of a faulty aortic valve, upon which he had successful heart surgery earlier this year.
Mr Durlik said: “The Macmillan Centre which is being built at Northallerton will be of enormous benefit to patients, as it will provide a place where anyone who is affected by cancer, directly or indirectly, can openly discuss and get advice from a highly competent and very dedicated team of Macmillan nurses.
“Throughout my treatment, the support both me and my wife have received from the consultants and other nurses at the South Tees Trust has been incredible. I was amazed at their professionalism, selfless commitment and the caring attitude they gave, not just to me but to all patients in their care. I hold them all in the very highest esteem and cannot thank them enough.”