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Garden at hospital will be named after farmer who left £1m in his will

PUBLISHED: 14:06 25 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:08 25 October 2019

Family of Douglas de Bootman visit the site at Cromer hospital where the new cancer unit will be built. L-R, Matthew Keeling, Pat de Bootman, Karen Ballard and Anita Martins. Pictures: David Bale

Family of Douglas de Bootman visit the site at Cromer hospital where the new cancer unit will be built. L-R, Matthew Keeling, Pat de Bootman, Karen Ballard and Anita Martins. Pictures: David Bale

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A memorial garden at a hospital will be named after a farmer whose £1m bequest will help pay for a new cancer care and support centre for north Norfolk.

Family of Douglas de Bootman visit the site at Cromer hospital where the new cancer unit will be built. With the cheque. L-R, Matthew Keeling, Pat de Bootman, Karen Ballard and Anita Martins. Pictures: David BaleFamily of Douglas de Bootman visit the site at Cromer hospital where the new cancer unit will be built. With the cheque. L-R, Matthew Keeling, Pat de Bootman, Karen Ballard and Anita Martins. Pictures: David Bale

Douglas de Bootman left the money in his will to Cromer and District Hospital and a new £4.15m centre will stop sufferers travelling miles for treatment.

The North Norfolk Macmillan Centre will be built at a disused ward overlooking a tranquil garden which is home to squirrels and woodpeckers.

Mr de Bootman's niece Karen Ballard and her mother Pat de Bootman, from King's Lynn, visited the hospital on Friday, October 25, to see the site.

She said there was no big reason why her uncle had left the money to the hospital.

She added: "He probably visited the audiology department and took a liking to the hospital. He was sentimental and we were not surprised by the bequest,

"He used to come to Cromer and Wells. He told me shortly before he died he had left the majority of his money to the hospital."

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Matthew Keeling, the hospital's operations manager, said: "The garden will be named in Mr de Bootman's honour, and I'm sure we can do his memory proud.

"The new centre will handle 20,000 patients a year.

"We wanted to keep the feel of the old building with the green space around it and the view onto the garden.

"This is one of the most modern hospitals in the country, and it will be one of the most advanced cancer centres."

Cromer hospital matron Anita Martins remembers talking to a farmer, whose name she cannot remember, about making a legacy, and now believes that was Mr de Bootman.

"He wanted to secure the future of the hospital," she said.

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals (NNUH) NHS Foundation Trust is working with Macmillan Cancer Support to create the centre, which will increase chemotherapy and treatment space at the hospital. The proposals for the centre were rubber-stamped by North Norfolk District Council this week.

Mr de Bootman farmed at Pentney, near Swaffham, before retiring and buying a farm in Thursford. The 88-year-old died in March 2018.

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