THE campaign to raise £2.5 million for the new Bury Hospice — backed by the Bury Times — has reached its target.

Doors will open on Monday, March 18, at the new state-of-the-art centre in Rochdale Old Road, Bury, which will provide palliative care for more than 1,000 patients each year.

The new hospice cost a total of £5.05 million to build, with half the money donated in large legacies.

A campaign was launched in the Bury Times in September, 2010, to raise the £2.5 million still needed and a page dedicated to the hospice has been printed every week.

A massive 76 per cent of the £5.05 million total was donated by people from Bury, many inspired by stories in the Bury Times.

Of the amount remaining, 14 per cent was given by grant-making trusts outside the area and 10 per cent by the NHS.

The final cash injection needed for the hospice to reach its target came from a £526,000 grant from NHS Bury, which will soon become NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Jacqui Comber, the hospice’s chief executive, said: “This is a fantastic achievement which the people of Bury should be very proud of. We are moving from the smallest hospice in the country to this magnificent new building.

“Over half the £5.05 million has been donated or left to us in a will by local people who rose to the challenge to create somewhere that not only has the best facilities available, but is a beautiful sanctuary for patients and their families.

“It is particularly heart-warming to remember that this huge amount has been raised during a very difficult economic environment. The generosity of the people of Bury has been inspirational.

“We must thank the many people, companies, pubs, organisations, grant-making trusts and groups who have fundraised and given us money or donated their goods, services and supplies.

“Particular mention must go to one lady, whose generosity through a gift left to us in her will gave us the confidence to put our plans in motion and the ability to get construction underway.

“I would also like to thank the Bury Times for its unstinting support. The paper’s coverage of the fundraising has kept the campaign at the forefront of readers’ minds for the past two years.”

Paul Horrocks, former NHS Bury chairman and non-executive director for NHS Bury CCG, said: “Bury Hospice provides an exceptional and unique service for local people and their families at a difficult time in their lives. The new facilities will modernise and expand the existing services to meet local needs, which have changed since the original hospice was built.

“We are pleased that this investment will help to put the finishing touches to the new facilities in readiness for its opening.”

The new building will allow the hospice to move from its current site in Dumers Lane, Radcliffe, which opened in 1991.

It is a larger, modern facility providing end-of-life care to people with any life-limiting condition, not just cancer.

The hospice has 12 inpatient bedrooms — compared to five at its current home — each with an ensuite bathroom and access to a terrace overlooking landscaped gardens.

There is a new outpatient centre offering appointments, clinics, treatments and therapies under one roof, meaning patients and their families will no longer have to travel to different places.

There will be accommodation for families, relaxation areas and increased catering facilities.

As well as caring for patients, the hospice will provide education and training for 250 healthcare professionals and 400 students every year.

Eloise Burke, the hospice’s head of clinical services, said: “The provision of the highest-quality palliative care has always been the focus at Bury Hospice.

“I and the clinical team are excited and privileged to be moving to a state-of-the-art purpose-built hospice which will allow us to extend our care to reach more people with life-limiting illnesses, whilst offering extra support and services to those who love and care for them.”

And while the money needed to build, equip and open the centre has been raised, fundraising is still as important as ever for the hospice.

It is estimated that £8,000 a day will be needed to run the new centre.

Michael Garrity, chairman of the hospice’s trustees, said: “This has been an astonishing achievement by our supporters, staff and volunteers, but it doesn’t end here.

“While we are thrilled with our new home, we must remember that currently, with less than 20 per cent of the money needed each year coming from the NHS, the remaining 80 per cent comes from local fundraising, the hospice shops and hospice lottery.

“We must continue to appeal to the generosity of local people and businesses to keep supporting this vital work.”

Sandra Morris, chairman of the hospice’s Brandlesholme Support Group, said: “We and a number of other groups have proudly supported and raised money for Bury Hospice for many years. The opening of the new hospice is a huge achievement and one which we are all very proud of.

“We look forward to continuing our support in the years to come.”

• An open day for people to have a look around the new hospice will be held on Monday, before staff move in later in the week. To attend: call 0161 725 9800.