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£2m Tameside Macmillan Unit officially opened

The new £2m state-of-the-art Tameside’s Macmillan Unit has been officially opened at Tameside Hospital today, Thursday June 22nd.

Health chiefs, civic dignitaries, local MPs, Macmillan fundraisers and supporters of the Tameside Macmillan Unit Appeal plus other invited guests attended a special plaque unveiling ceremony.

They heard speeches of thanks and praise for the huge community and business support for the appeal, which has made the £1.8 million pound state-of-the art unit a reality – while fundraising for the unit continues.

The honour of unveiling the official thank you plaque fell to former cancer patient and keen rambler Stewart Ramsden.

He said he was delighted when Tameside Hospital asked him to help them with a very special project – to work with Macmillan Cancer Support to plan a new unit to help treat and support people with the disease.

The team wanted to create a haven of calm and relaxation for patients undergoing chemotherapy and Stewart’s favourite walk was chosen as the theme to inspire the artwork and furnishings.

Now, four year’s on the state of the art £2million Tameside Macmillan Unit has been officially opened and Stewart, 69, and from Godley has been given the honour of making that happen.

The grandfather of four joined the deputy Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Commander Jane Evans MBE DL RNR and the Civic Mayor of Tameside, Councillor Joyce Bowerman, plus MPs Angela Rayner and Jonathan Reynolds at a reception at the Unit, hosted by the hospital’s Chief Executive Karen James.

Stewart, a retired manager who worked for 39 years for the NHS, believes it was his love of walking that was an important part of his recovery following his diagnosis and treatment for prostate cancer.

He explains: “I do think walking is in my DNA. I’ve been doing it for more than 50 years. I’m Chairman of Tameside Ramblers and I feel we are blessed with some of the best walks and stunning scenery on our side of the Pennines.

“When artist Chris Tipping was brought in to design the creative aspects of the Unit he chose my regular ramble and came with me as inspiration for his wonderful work which influences as a theme throughout.

“I feel so privileged that I have been asked to make the official opening, and I do hope patients and their family and friends will see how the work forms a continous landscape of soothing calm which has the ability to help in the healing process.”

The Unit provides a single point of access for all appropriate assessment, treatement and support services.

There is a chemotherapy suite with six chairs and a private room for acute chemotherapy, and a dedicated information and support centre with Macmillan staff on site to provide much needed support for patients and their families.

Julie Atkin-Ward, Macmillan Strategic Partnership Manager for Greater Manchester, said: “The Tameside Macmillan Unit offers vital support for anyone affected by cancer across Tameside and Glossop, whether it’s people living with cancer, their families or carers. I am really excited that this much-needed facility is now open and providing the very best treatment and support to the local community, and ensuring more peoples’ needs are being met, right on their doorstep.”

Karen James, Chief Executive of Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Tameside Hospital, says that before the Unit was built cancer care and provision was given in several different locations and many patients and their carers often had to travel to more than one hospital site for their treatment.

“Now, all that has changed, and with more and more people hearing every year the devastating news that they have cancer, we know our Unit – with services, information and support all under one roof – will help ease anxiety and fear.”