A TEAM of fundraisers walked through the night to see the sun rise and raise thousands of pounds for Colchester's new cancer centre.

Dr Marion Wood, consultant haematologist at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, her husband Prof Mark Lowdell, his walking companion Matt Swain and gastroenterologist Dr Ian Gooding completed the midnight marathon walk from Colchester to Frinton to raise more than £3,000 for the Cancer Centre Campaign.

The appeal, which is supported by the Gazette, aims to raise £4.5 million to create a new cancer centre to bring all cancer services together.

Dr Wood sees patients in the haematology unit which is next to the Mary Barron suite.

She said: "It is fine but doesn't allow us to do all the holistic treatments for patients with blood cancers.

"I am very much behind the idea of trying to raise money for a new centre.

"The radiotherapy centre shows what you can do.

"Once the cancer centre is built, patients will have a better environment to receive their care.

"It will given them easy access to emotional and psychological support.

"It will also be part of the main hospital site meaning patients no longer have the long walk from one side of the site to the other.

"The unit is in a building which is not permanent.

"With a new centre we can deliver 21st century care which will make a huge difference."

Dr Wood added: "Matt had walked it before and said there was something fantastic about walking into the sunrise.

"The sunrise is a metaphor for hope for patients receiving treatment in the centre."

The four set off just before 9pm from Colchester Station and walked to the Hythe, along the Wivenhoe trail, through Alresford to Brightlingsea and then on to St Osyth and to Frinton.

They completed the 26 mile walk in nine hours and celebrated the achievement with a glass of Bucks Fizz.

THE Cancer Centre Campaign has now topped more than £1.4 million.

The appeal needs to raise £4.5 million to build a new cancer centre on top of the radiotherapy centre.

It will mean all clinical cancer services can be centralised along with support services.

In the past two months, supporters have donated £55,000.

They include a donation of more than £10,800 from Colchester MP Will Quince and friends from a 60s night.

A charity ball raised £20,000 for the appeal and a fashion show at Coggeshall's vineyard raised more than £2,000.

Hayley Cole, Gemma Steggles and Ali Hughes-Jones, who work in the radiotherapy department, raised more than £2,400 from a tandem skydive.

A garden party in Tiptree hosted by John and Ann Hall raised £4,000.

Among the forthcoming fundraising events is a family charity night at Poplar Nurseries on Saturday.

The event, which begins at 6pm includes live music and a hog roast.

A charity clay pigeon shoot will be held on July 8 and the following day Nicky Withycombe will be leading the Colchester Starlight Walk for the campaign.

Two arduous challenges are also planned. Lauren and Hayley Speller are aiming to climb the three peaks in three days and Kim Palmer is taking on the Prudential 100 mile cycle ride on July 31.

In addition, nearly £4,000 has been donated to the appeal by families in memory of loved ones.

To donate money to the appeal, text GAZE11 £10 to 70070.

Cheques can be made payable to CoHoC Cancer Centre Campaign and sent to Colchester Hospitals Charity, Turner Road,

Colchester, CO4 5JL. Donations can also be made online by going to www.Cohoc.org.uk.

For more information, call Caroline Bates, head of charity and fundraising, on 01206 745303 or 01206 745282.