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L-R: Barry Rinaldi (Chairman), Wolly (Mascot), Cait Allen (CEO) and Chris Jarman (Freemasons)

A vital transport service for cancer patients living on the Isle of Wight has been boosted by the purchase of a new Daisy Bus, which was unveiled for the first time in Newport today (Wednesday).

Grant funding by the Clothworkers’ Foundation and Football for Cancer has enabled Wessex Cancer Trust to buy the new vehicle and the incredible fundraising efforts of Islanders have also helped to ensure it is now funded well into 2020.

The Daisy Bus minibus service picks patients up from Southsea 4 times a day and delivers them straight to the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth. Patients are then returned to Southsea after their treatment to catch the hovercraft back to Ryde.

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The charity hosted a special thank you event at their support centre in Lugley Street this afternoon where supporting businesses and organisations came together with service users. Among the attendees were the Island’s Freemasons and the IW Prostate Cancer Support Group, who have raised thousands towards the charity’s funding appeal.

Also in attendance were Mandi Beecher and Jan from Tesco Ryde, who have worked with Aspire Ryde and Lake Ladies Knitting Group to produce special bags to help those fighting cancer on their journey to and from the hospital. Items include a blanket, creams, lip balm, sanitizer, wipes, mints, tissues, a puzzle book and a journal with pen.

Mandi Beecher hands over the patients’ bags with a lift of contents to Lorraine White of Wessex Cancer Trust

Mandi says:

“6 years ago my husband and I used the Daisy bus for his cancer treatment. I have, for sometime, wanted to find a way to repay the service provided and thought the best way to do so would be by helping the people who use it today.

“My colleague Jan and I have put together bags which have been filled with things that patients may find of use on their journeys. My husband would certainly have found them ‘a must’ on his trips”.

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Wessex Cancer Trust’s CEO, Cait Allen, said:

“We have been overwhelmed by the support of the Isle of Wight community over the past 14 months and we cannot thank you enough. Island residents were understandably concerned at the prospect of losing the Daisy Bus, which is considered a lifeline for many, and they have rallied round to ensure it can continue to help Islanders when they need it most.

“Being able to purchase a new minibus will help reduce our ongoing costs significantly while also providing a more comfortable experience for patients travelling to the mainland for treatment”.

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