Jubilant campaigners are celebrating as the Mercury’s £1.5m campaign for a new palliative care centre reached its target today.

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Dedicated fundraisers threw their weight behind the drive for a support centre in the grounds of the James Paget University Hospital (JPH) when efforts began in 2006.

And after six years of hard graft, Roberta Lovick - mother of the late Louise Hamilton, who the centre is named after - told those who helped the campaign: “Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

A donation of £27,000 from the Louise Hamilton Cancer Help Centre Trust pushed the total over the finishing line, and building work on the centre for those with life-limiting illnesses is well under way.

The centre is named after Louise Hamilton, from Gorleston, who died of breast cancer aged 28.

Her mother, Mrs Lovick, was a driving force behind the appeal launch back in 2006.

She said: “It was my dream to have this kind of service locally.

“This type of centre has been needed for so long and I’d like to thank people from the bottom of my heart for donating and helping make it happen.

“We will still need donations to make sure the centre offers the best support we can provide.”

Jenny Watson, Palliative Care East appeal organiser, said: “We launched the appeal six years ago and it’s really been embraced by local people.

“Thank you to everyone who has donated. We will continue to fundraise now to support the centre and the 10,000 people a year who will use it.”

The appeal will continue to work with partners to ensure local patients and carers get the very best support through their diagnosis and treatment through to palliative care for any life-limiting or progressive illness.

They will continue to look at ways of improving all aspects of care provision, supporting choice around where people wish to be cared for, and supporting wellbeing.

When the centre opens in January it will provide a range of specialist palliative care services, lymphoedema service, advice and support including welfare and money matters, therapy groups, a variety of information about health conditions.

Complementary and relaxation therapies including music and art therapy will be part of the feeling good and wellbeing aspect of the centre’s services.

Families are also included and will be able to access advice, support including family therapies and support groups and services such as bereavement support, all specific for their needs.

Nikki Sawkins, project manager of the Louise Hamilton Centre said: “This is just the start for a centre that will provide a really homely environment for supportive care and enable patients, carers and families to live their lives as fully as possible.”

The centre will host services provided by a wide range of organisations working in partnership: which includes local health and social care services, local and national cancer charities, family support and care organisations, patient support groups, a variety of organisations with the focus on specific conditions and bereavement charities.

The Louise Hamilton Centre is being built on a greenfield site at the northern end of the JPH by Norwich-based architects LSI.

For updates on the centre please visit www.palliativecareeast.blogspot.com or contact Nikki Sawkins Project manager via Palliative Care East office 01493 453348

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