A £1 million donation has been made towards the creation of a new cancer centre.

The generous pledge comes as the Cancer Centre Campaign, which is supported by the Gazette, has been relaunched,

The original cost of the scheme was £4.5 million with costs rising all the time.

The project team was asked to go back to the drawing board to bring the costs down and ensure the target is reached sooner.

The new cost of the centre is £3.25 million. It will retain all the elements of the original scheme but will only built over one floor instead of two.

More than £1 million has already been raised for the centre. Now a Good Samaritan has offered to donate £1 million towards the centre - as long as the rest of the money - £1.25 million - is reached by next February.

Nick Hulme, chief executive of Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Colchester Hospital Trust is committed to the building and running the cancer centre for the benefit of people affected by cancer in north east Essex and will do all it can to support the campaign to raise the money needed to complete it.

“Great progress has been made towards the target, including the pledge of £1 million from a local benefactor, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported the Cancer Centre Campaign so far.

“Projects such as this, funded by the generosity of the community, allow us to enhance the environment and develop the care we give to patients in ways that would not otherwise be possible.

“I hope everyone will join me in getting behind this final push so that we can get on and build a wonderful new centre for our cancer patients.”

The Cancer Centre Campaign was launched two years ago, A new centre will allow all cancer services - including clinical treatment and support services - to be brought together on one location.

Currently, patients needing radiotherapy are treated in the hospital’s state-of-the-art radiotherapy centre near the Gainsborough wing.

However, cancer patients needing chemotherapy or haematology are treated in the demountable unit on the other side of the hospital, quarter of a mile away,

Under the revised drawings, space near Gainsborough wing will be used to create the cancer centre for support services and alternative treatments.

The new chemotherapy and haematology department will be built on top of the radiotherapy centre.

It will feature 37 treatment suits which will be designed to offer more privacy to each patient.

That is 12 more units than is currently offered in the Mary Barron suite.

Emma Sweeney, Macmillan head of cancer nursing, said: “In the Mary Barron chemotherapy suite the lack of space between patients means that it is difficult to have sensitive discussions.

“Patients are often inhibited from talking frankly about their care and how they are feeling.

“Patients receiving chemotherapy may spend up to six or seven hours in a treatment chair and want a loved one with them.

“At the moment there is no space to make visitors comfortable which does nothing to diminish stress and anxiety.

“On top of this in the summer it becomes unbearably hot and stuffy.”

Caroline Bates, head of charity and fundraising for Colchester Hospitals Charity which is leading the appeal, thanked the benefactor and all the fundraisers.

She said: “A generous benefactor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has pledged £1 million to the campaign which means we now have just over £1 million left to raise to complete it.

“We are incredibly grateful to them for this amazing gift which is only available if we can complete the campaign within the next 12 months”.

She added: “I also want to thank everyone who has supported the Cancer Centre Campaign by running, swimming, walking, cycling, skydiving, head shaving, partying and having fun in ways too numerous to mention.

“ We appreciate everything you do to support the campaign and love to hear about the events you have organised or taken part in.

“We have an incredible challenge ahead of us and hope you will want to help us get there. “