READERS and fundraisers have welcomed news that Brighter Futures’ radiotherapy appeal has hit its £2.9m target.

As reported in yesterday’s Swindon Advertiser, a £175,000 grant pledged by the region’s Rotary clubs finally carried the multi-million pound appeal over the line.

The £2.9m raised by Brighter Futures will help equip a new radiotherapy centre based at Swindon’s Great Western Hospital. It means cancer patients will be saved a gruelling 70-mile round trip for treatment in Oxford.

Yesterday, readers congratulated all those who had donated to the appeal and the six-strong hospital fundraising team who had coordinated the campaign.

Claire Sweter-Millar said: “Well done to everyone who supported Brighter Futures. So many people will benefit from your generosity.”

Emma Sedgwick-Cotton added: “Congratulations to everyone involved, especially the Brighter Futures team. You did it.”

Fundraisers added their own congratulations. James Hussey, a Hackpen farmer, lost his wife Gill to breast cancer in 2014. Since then, he has raised thousands of pounds by hosting running races and crop circle visits on his land.

Welcoming the news that Brighter Futures had hit its £2.9m target, he said: “It’s amazing to think it will soon be helping people who need it most, giving a brighter future to those fighting cancer. It will be a lasting legacy to those who are no longer with us.”

Matthew Smith, who drove from Wiltshire to Mongolia in a beaten-up Suzuki last year, added: “I’m ecstatic. It’s amazing that they’ve got there. It’s going to be good news for all the people who live in the local area and who can receive this treatment in a much easier way than they could get before.”

Coun Abdul Amin was one of the first to donate to the radiotherapy appeal in 2014, after Oxford University Hospitals announced it would ask GWH for £2.5m towards the costs of the centre.

The Lalbagh restaurant owner gave a cheque for £1,000. Yesterday, the Walcot ward councillor and Rotarian said: “I’m absolutely delighted. It’s great news for me and I am sure it is great news for many people in Swindon.

“Cancer affects so many people, including members of my own family. Having to go to Oxford for a five minute treatment, but a journey time of two to three hours is ridiculous, especially for a town of Swindon’s size. It doesn’t just affect the patient, it also affects the person who has to go with them.”

Catherine Newman, Brighter Futures’ head of fundraising, said her team had been amazed by the generosity of fundraisers in the three years since the appeal had been launched.

Any money raised for the radiotherapy appeal over the next few weeks will be donated to Brighter Futures’ new bid to improve breast cancer services at Great Western Hospital.