Ark Cancer Centre Charity Launch Dinner

Charity Launch Dinner Nov 2012

Guests including North Hampshire West MP Sir George Young, former Conservative Government minister Lord Wakeham and Hampshire-based actress Sarah Parish, of Peak Practice and Mistresses fame, sat down to a three-course dinner before they heard why it is so vital for the public to get behind the campaign to raise £5million towards the cost of the new cancer centre that is to be built in north Hampshire.

The black-tie launch dinner, held in The Ark Conference Centre, was the first step towards meeting that target.

Raising awareness of the project was the key goal of the evening as the team behind the vision sought to enthuse and inspire the well-connected audience.

Mr Merv Rees, Clinical Director of Surgery at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who is a driving force behind the campaign, appealed for the assembled guests to each become ambassadors for the centre, and to spread the word within the local community.

Dr Lara Alloway, Clinical Director of Cancer Services and  Consultant in Palliative Care, told guests what a difference the centre, which will be built on an area of land encircled by the M3, A303 and A34, would make to local people, explaining that cancer patients have to currently endure 60-mile, and often daily, round trips over several weeks to receive treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy. She said the national target of patients travelling time being less than 45 minutes was not currently being met.

The cancer centre will offer vital treatments such as radiotherapy alongside palliative care and more general support, including hair care, beauty treatments and financial and employment advice.

Diners had the chance to see the six shortlisted designs for the centre which have been chosen from 36 submitted as part of a Europe-wide competition.

Dr Alloway told the audience: “We don't want a building which looks like a hospital, which looks clinical.” She said the campaign team are looking to site the centre in an amazing building in which patients can receive vital treatments and supportive care.

The launch dinner was sponsored by Rafi Razzak, chairman of Basingstoke-based IT company Centerprise International and Basingstoke Town Football Club, who said he was “absolutely thrilled” when he initially heard of the plan to create The Ark Cancer Centre.