HRH the Princess Royal officially opened a new £1 million cancer care and haematology unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

Princess Anne visited the hospital, in Mandeville Road, Aylesbury, on Wednesday to open the Wooden Spoon Society Family Cancer Care and the haematology unit.

All the money for the building was raised by a local appeal and among the donations was one of £300,000 from the Wooden Spoon Society, the British rugby charity after which the building is named.

The Princess Royal is patron of the charity and met with community representatives, hospital staff and members of the appeals community before touring the new building.

Dr Anthony Woodbridge, chairman of Stoke Mandeville Hospital NHS Trust, said: "We are delighted that HRH the Princess Royal has opened this excellent new building. It is a great asset to the patients and staff, and is a tribute to the appeal committee and the people who have contributed to its cost."

Building work began in March 2000 and was completed in less than a year with the first patients starting to use it in January this year.

Paddy Smith, projects co-ordinator of the Wooden Spoon Society, said: "The unit will help improve the lives of thousands."