SPORTS presenter Clare Balding said last night she is proud to be patron of the South Bucks Hospice's new appeal which aims to raise the final amount to build a state-of-the-art hospice.
The Butterfly Appeal was launched last night at a party at the Clare Foundation in Saunderton.
The appeal aims to raise £1 million towards the £3 million project which will see a hospice built at the former Kingswood County First School site in Totteridge Lane to cater for the rising need in south Bucks.
Clare Balding and Roger Jefcoate CBE are patrons of the appeal.
In a video message to the launch Clare said she was very proud to be asked, and knows what it is like to go through a terrifying diagnosis, as she had thyroid cancer.
She said: "You need to be able to go to a place where you feel more positive and more confident. Where you can actually allow your fears to come out if that is what you need to do or indeed be boosted by those around you."
Clare said palliative care is incredibly important and said the new hospice is going to be a "magical place."
South Bucks Hospice's current facilities are at Pusey House in Amersham Road, which sees more than 200 patients a year, and the Cedar Barn lymphodema clinic in Hazlemere, which sees more than 320 patients.
The new hospice will bring both of these facilities together. SBH helps desperately ill men and women, and provide care free of charge. The Butterfly Appeal started last November with not too much publicity and has so far raised £250,000 of the £1million target.
It officially launched yesterday and is asking members of the public to buy a brick to go in the garden at the new hospice in the Butterfly Walk. Prices start at £75 and people can have an inscription on the brick.
There is also the option to sponsor a larger part of the garden. Dr Michael Bowker, who is on the chairman of trustees and has worked as 30 years as a GP, said the population is ageing in south Bucks so a larger site is needed.
He said: "We need a new building. It would be ever so much better to be functioning from one site with one team."
Dr Bowker said for the first time the hospice will be able to offer overnight stays and respite care. Pusey House is currently a day service and works alongside Iain Rennie Hospice at Home. He said the purchase of the land should be completed by Christmas and building should begin early next year.
To help fundraise or donate to the new hospice go to www.sbh.org.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01494 464045.