IT was a very pink affair as a charity opened the doors to its latest centre for breast cancer patients after a two-year fundraising campaign.
The Haven charity opened its fourth regional centre – the Wessex Haven in The Square, Titchfield – yesterday.
And Pamela Healy OBE, The Haven’s chief executive, cut the ribbon with BBC journalist Sally Taylor, who was the chairwoman of a fundraising appeal which raised more than £1m for the purchase and refurbishment of the Grade II listed property.
Sally, who had breast cancer in 1999, got involved with the charity in 2012.
She praised the centre, which will offer a range of free services, incorporating everything from nutritional and financial advice, to counselling, exercise and complementary therapies.
Sally said: ‘It is amazing. The building has a most wonderful feeling to it.
‘The important thing about every haven is that women and men do not feel like they are walking into a clinic or a hospital wing.’
Building work started in May, carried out by Three Valley Construction.
James Judd, from the construction company, said: ‘It was a great project to be involved with.
‘It has been a complete refurbishment of a beautiful building.
‘To see it being brought back to life is fantastic.’
The centre now has three therapy rooms, as well as living space and a garden designed by the award-winning, RHS Chelsea Flower Show, designer Sarah Eberle.
At the opening Avi Agrawal, consultant breast surgeon and clinical lead from the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, spoke highly of the centre and the work it will carry out to help visitors and their families cope with the wider impact of breast cancer.
He said: ‘It is a fantastic building which will help women with the complimentary side of treatment, counselling and therapy that they may need.
‘We have over 700 women diagnosed with breast cancer every year at Portsmouth, and although this centre is not exclusive for Portsmouth, the majority of our patients will find this a benefit.’
Mrs Healy spoke of her joy at seeing the centre open.
She said: ‘It’s exciting, it’s the end of a long journey to get here but we need to keep going to sustain the centre.’
The Spinnaker Tower turned pink last night to mark the opening, as did the Park and Ride at the Tipner Interchange.
For more go to thehaven.org.uk.