AN ANONYMOUS benefactor has donated a staggering £1.8million to South Bucks Hospice, which has left staff and volunteers overwhelmed.

The legacy was left to the charity, which provides expert care for people in the area with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.

It means the planned state-of-the-art hospice in Kingswood, Totteridge will be built much sooner than anticipated, with a new completion date of winter 2016.

The charity will also be able to keep its current building, Pusey House, in Amersham Road, which was going to be sold to help with the fundraising. This will be a focal point for carers.

The donation was awarded as the executors of the benefactor’s will were impressed with the vision for the new hospice and the passion shown by new chief executive, Jo Woolf.

She said: "We are not afraid to embrace the true existential aspect of patient and family needs.

"We’ve moved away from the assumption that dying can be slotted into a standard care plan. Dying is a profoundly complex personal journey that each individual approaches in their own unique way.

"The way and where we die is incredibly important. Research shows that 70 per cent of people want to die at home and we believe we are laying the foundations for the future of hospice care in South Buckinghamshire.

"We fill a critical gap in the provisions of the NHS by providing clinical and holistic treatment and support to patients, their families and carers. Our services are provided completely free of charge with the focus on improving quality of life, enabling dignity, alleviating stress and supporting loved ones and carers through a tremendously difficult time.

"This incredible legacy, along with the funds raised by our wonderful supporters, will ensure we are able to offer the very best care for generations to come."

The appeal to build a new hospice was launched in 2011. The charity had already raised £2m to the £3m needed. Since then more than £500,000 has been raised with the help of its supporters and volunteers in the community.

The new purpose-built centre will have the capacity to care for up to 60 per cent more patients and will bring together the day care service and Lymphoedema clinic, which is based in Hazlemere, with staff able to collaborate and share expertise.

The current range of activities and therapies will also be expanded, including the vital Lymphoedema service, providing an even higher level of care to local people with serious illnesses.

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