A BIG push begins today for the business community to dig deep so work can begin on Worcester’s life- saving breast unit and it can open its doors as soon as possible.

Only £115,000 is needed for work to start on the unit in Newtown Road, near Worcestershire Royal Hospital, and a new drive now begins in earnest to make the dreams of patients, families and medical staff a reality.

Although more fundraising is needed after this sum is raised, this cash injection will at least get the unit up and running so patients can start ot benefit from the facility which provides state-of-the-art care for women and men, all under one roof.

This October it will be five years since the campaign was officially launched with a fund-raising calendar. But poignantly many campaigners who were passionate about the unit have not survived to see it open, including Cherry Robinson, one of the original calendar girls who died from secondary cancers last October at her home in Osier Close, Worcester.

Many readers of the Worcester News have already given so much to the campaign, which this paper has supported and will until the end, but we appeal now for businesses and the public to dig even deeper with donations of just £50 each to see this vision through.

A total of 7,000 emails will be sent out today to members of the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce. Donations are limited to £50 each but if enough people within the community (2,300 to be precise) donate that sum it will be enough for the charity, the Worcestershire Breast Unit Campaign, to start work on the building of a one-stop- shop for breast care patients.

Granville Orange, chair - man of Worcestershire Ambassadors, came up with the idea together with solicitor Jonathan Brew. He said: “Everyone is touched by cancer in some way. Members of the public can send in their money too. £115,000 is now the sum needed to see the breast unit open.

“I think this will grab and excite the business community in a way that’s refreshing in that we are limiting our requests to just £50. The smallest businesses with a small turnover can still be involved in a major part of this campaign.”

A “roll of honour” of people who have donated will be printed in the Worcester News as well as a barometer showing the campaign edging towards its target.

About 600 people every year are diagnosed with breast cancer in Worcester - shire. One in three women will see a breast specialist during their life, one in eight women will develop breast cancer and one in a thousand men will develop the disease.

Campaign director Geoff Howard said: “Throughout the campaign the support of the community has been fantastic and we hope that this initiative will make a real difference."