A RADIOTHERAPY appeal has hit the magic £2.5 million mark.

The Great Western Hospital’s fundraising bid for two new cancer-fighting radiotherapy machines must raise £100,000 a month if it is to hit its target by Christmas.

Catherine Newman, head of fundraising for GWH charity Brighter Futures, reserved special thanks to Adver readers who have donated more than £36,000 from the pledge forms printed in the paper every Thursday.

She said of hitting the £2.5m milestone: “I’m over the moon. It’s absolutely fantastic. It has been a crazy year for us.

“We’ve not even had time to sit down and process it. It feels like the end is in sight.

“I want to say a big thank you to everybody. There’s no words to thank our fundraisers. It’s just incredible. None of this would have been possible without them.

“We live in an amazing town. Swindon has shown the country what’s possible.”

Currently, around 700 Swindon patients are forced to make the 70-mile round trip to the Churchill Hospital, Oxford, for radiotherapy treatment.

Catherine said: “You’re dealing with life changing news like a cancer diagnosis and on top of that you’ve got all the worry of that journey to Oxford.

"Families are making so many sacrifices on top of having to deal with the terrible news of a diagnosis. With the new centre, we’re taking the burden off their shoulders.”

Reacting to the news, breast cancer survivor and Brighter Futures fundraiser Nikki Gilbert said yesterday: “This is fantastic news for Swindon. It will make a huge difference to local people not having to travel to Oxford for treatment. I’m totally over the moon.”

Hospital fundraisers hope to hit their £2.9m target by Christmas. Brighter Futures’ Catherine said: “We are really confident we’ll hit that target.”

Construction work on the multi-million pound radiotherapy centre is expected to start next year. Once built it will be managed by cancer specialists from the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

To donate to the radiotherapy appeal, visit: www.brighterfuturesgwh.nhs.uk.