A LEADING entrepreneur is making "a call to arms" to more businesses to get behind Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals Charity's Cancer Centre Campaign.

Paul Milsom is supporting the 2019 Club - an initiative where businesses are asked to donate a minimum of £2,019.

It was launched in April at Le Talbooth, Dedham, one of the group of hotels and restaurants Mr Milsom is managing director of.

In return for their donation, club members will benefit from exclusive member-only events while helping to ensure the aspirations of the new cancer centre at Colchester Hospital are met.

These will include behind the scenes hospital tours, discussions with clinicians and key decision makers and a chance to meet like-minded people.

Work is set to start on the new £3.25million state-of-the-art facility soon and there is now just under £200,000 left to raise.

Mr Milsom, the patron of the club and a founding member, said more money will be needed for key finishing touches.

He said: "The budget is virtually there for the building but there will still be things needed for the end of the project. Funding to complete it - so this is what this club is about."

Club members so far include CGN Restaurants, which holds the franchise of McDonalds in Colchester, Harwich Tool Hire and Rose Builders.

The aim is for 100 businesses to sign up to raise around £200,000 by March 2019.

Mr Milsom said firms could be imaginative about how they raised the money, with W.A.Church seed production firm in Bures finding some of their share through offering weekend tractor rides, for example.

The Cancer Centre Campaign, supported by the Gazette, was launched in 2014.

The 2019 Club will be active until mid-2019 when the new cancer centre opens.

For more information visit www.colchesteripswichcharity.org.uk/2019-club/.