Work is set to begin on a state-of-the-art cancer centre aiming to revolutionise care in north Essex.

Construction of the purpose built centre at Colchester Hospital is expected to get underway in the new year.

It comes after Colchester Council gave the green light for the £3.25 million project.

The new building will be known as the Collingwood Centre.

The name was chosen by an anonymous donor who handed over £1 million to support the project.

In total £2.741 million has been raised through the Cancer Centre Campaign, supported by the Gazette, which launched in 2014.

Hospital boss Nick Hulme said: “This first class cancer centre will care for everyone, regardless of cancer type, severity, or prognosis.

“It will provide a wide range of support and complementary services to help patients cope with diagnosis and treatments, as well as preparing people for life after cancer.

“We know people don’t want to come to hospital, but we want to make it as comfortable and stress free as possible.”

The building will bring together chemotherapy, haematology and radiotherapy under one roof, alongside a wellness centre that will offer counselling and support services.

Kathryn Ramsey, Macmillan programme manager at Colchester Hospital, said: “This will provide a combined oncology and haematology unit with an improved environment for patients receiving treatment due to the increase in size and facilities.

“We are extremely grateful for all the support from the public with the fundraising.”

The new centre is expected to open by the end of 2019 with West Mersea based Stroods Specialist Contractors carrying out the works.

Peter Wilson, chairman of the fundraising committee, said: “This unit, together with the radiotherapy building, will provide a centre of excellence for cancer treatment at Colchester.

“Our task is not yet complete – we still need to raise a further £250,000 to reach our goal of £3.25 million, and with the continued generosity of local people we are confident this will be reached in the coming months.”

The remaining £250,000 will be used to build the wellness centre.

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