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Wyenot News - The weekly News Magazine for Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
Issue No. 135 - 21st February 2007
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Legendary racing driver launches Britain’s first mobile chemotherapy unit
helping cancer patients in Ross-on-Wye

Legendary British racing driver, Sir Stirling Moss OBE, officially unveiled a new unit which will bring chemotherapy treatment closer to the homes of cancer patients in Ross-on-Wye and hundreds more throughout the whole region.

As most readers already are aware, my own son, Matt Wood has been receiving chemotherapy for the past seven months at Cheltenham General Hospital to treat Hodgkin's lymphoma in his stomach, chest and neck and we were invited along to the official launch, where Matt met Sir Stirling Moss and had a look around the new unit.

Sir Stirling Moss is a patron of the charity, 'Hope for Tomorrow', which has donated the £150,000 needed to build the state-of-the-art unit; the first of its kind in Britain.

Run by the oncology team from the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the unit will begin treating chemotherapy patients in Ross-on-Wye and Cirencester in March this year and will be visiting Ross Community Hospital once per week. It is hoped the unit will eventually travel further afield, bringing the lifesaving treatment to patients in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Until now, although some can be treated in Hereford and Worcester hospitals, most cancer patients have had to travel to the Oncology Centre at Cheltenham General Hospital, a Centre of Excellence for chemotherapy.

Continued . . .

Chemo patient, Matt Wood with Sir Stirling Moss in inside the fantastic new Mobile Chemotherapy Unit. Ref: DSC_4102

Gloucestershire based 'Hope for Tomorrow' was set up by Christine Mills, of Tetbury, whose husband David lost his fight against cancer in 2002. Determined to honour the memory of her husband, Christine established Hope for Tomorrow to help families cope with the disease.

Sir Stirling Moss OBE, who first met David and Christine through their work in the motor racing industry, said: 'I am absolutely delighted to be part of such a unique and exciting project. I hope that this fantastic unit will be the first of many and the names of David and Christine, who I know as Sport and Sportess, will be remembered for it.'

The charity has the backing of a number of high profile supporters including former Chairman of Vodafone, Lord MacLaurin OBE, who is also the Chairman of Hope for Tomorrow. The Mercedes-Benz unit has a bespoke body designed and built by Conestoga and WHF Ltd, who build many of the Formula One hospitality units.

It will be able to treat five people on board at any one time – up to 20 patients a day. It has been fitted with the latest technology to provide a hygienic, safe and comfortable environment for patients and staff. Chippenham-based company, Fleet Support Group, are one of the first major sponsors being sought to help Hope for Tomorrow fund the unit.

Dr Sean Elyan, Medical Director at the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Consultant Oncologist, said: 'It is our vision that the mobile chemotherapy unit will bring treatment closer to the homes of cancer patients, reducing the burden on them and their families, whilst maintaining the highest standard of care.'

'I would like to say a big thank you to Christine and everyone at Hope for Tomorrow for their heroic fund-raising efforts and admirable determination to get this project off the ground.'

The NHS-run unit will initially provide chemotherapy treatment weekly at Ross-on-Wye Community Hospital and Cirencester Hospital, although it is hoped that this will be extended once other locations have been confirmed.

Christine said: 'This is a ground breaking project and our most ambitious to date. Along with Dr Sean Elyan we share the same vision for this unit. I feel I have done the easy part - it is the commitment to this project from the oncology team at the Trust that I think is incredible'.

Continued . . .

Legendary racing driver, Sir Stirling Moss officially opens the new mobile unit. Ref: DSC_4094

Dame Janet Trotter, Chair of the Trust before the official opening with chemo patients, Sandra Woodward (left)
and Matt Wood. Ref: DSC_4078

Christine Mills, Ian Ingledew, Adrian Bamford, Sir Stirling Moss, Geoff Hiscox, Maureen Dore, Margaret Sullivan, Claire Salter, Sean Elyan, Helen Robinson, Gail Stephens, Brian, who worked on the vehicle in York. Ref: DSC_4142

Matt with his Consultant Nurse, Ian Ingledew and Consultant Oncologist, Dr. Sean Elyan - Medical Director
at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Ref: DSC_4143

Thank you!

Matt did extremely well with the media on the occasion of the opening and I am very proud of the way he got through the stressful hour of having his photo taken, what seemed like a thousand times. Matt declined to be interviewed by both the BBC and ITV as dealing with it all was just a bit too much for him at the time but he did enjoy the morning. Neither he nor I had expected quite as much media coverage of the opening as there was. I would like to thank both television crews for their understanding of the situation.

I would also like to thank Sir Stirling Moss for taking the time to call Matt inside the new unit, before the main press, for our own, exclusive photographs and for his help with providing this new mobile unit which will benefit so many people in the future!

To all of the doctors, nurses and staff at Cheltenham General Hospital who have been so kind to Matt over the past seven months. You are doing a wonderful job and you have been just fantastic! This article is a tribute to you all.

Media coverage inside the new unit - looking to my left with the camera: ITV television crew. Ref: DSC_4111

Media coverage inside the new unit - looking to my right with the camera: lots of other cameras. Ref: DSC_4111

More good news . . .

Matt's last scan, about a month ago now, showed that he has only one small area of the cancer left, in the right hand side of his chest. He has one month of chemotherapy left to go, after which he cannot take any more at this time. The likelihood is, that this last month of treatment will take out that small remaining problem. If not, his treatment will have to be finished off using another method but all signs do look very good.

Although Matt may look a little unwell in the top photo, it is the toxic qualities of the chemical treatment which is causing this, not the illness itself and this is quite normal in such circumstances. He has flown through the treatment, going out with his mates in the evenings as usual, holding wild parties while Mum is away and leading a perfectly normal lifestyle, with only minor symptoms such as sickness immediately following treatment, insomnia - and nowhere near as much hair loss as we were told to expect. What it is to be young, carefree and strong! I know that I could not have gone through what Matt has been through with as much strength and courage!

Sir Stirling Moss OBE

The best driver never to win the World Championship, Sir Stirling Moss OBE is arguably the greatest all-round racing driver of all time. Known during his career as 'Mr Motor Racing' he began hill climbing a Cooper 500 in 1948 at the age of 18. His early career was meteoric and soon he was driving works cars for Jaguar and HMW. In 1955 he was signed up by Mercedes-Benz to partner World Champion Fangio. That year Stirling shadowed the great Argentine in most Grand Prix, beating him to win the British GP. Famously, that year he won the incredible Mille Miglia, The Targa Florio and the Tourist trophy - all legendary sports car races.

For four years he would finish runner-up in the World Championships and, after M-B retired, led the Maserati and Vanwall teams. He also continued to drive saloon and sports cars and during his remarkable career drove more than 80 different types of car.

In the late '50s and early '60s, Stirling Moss led the changeover to rear engine Formula 1 cars, achieving the first victory for such a car in the 1958 Argentine Grand Prix and was in a class of his own during this period. A near-fatal accident ended it all in 1962 but he was to remain a superstar to this day. One of the original jet-setters, he still dashes round the world fulfilling engagements and competing in historic racing.

Ref: DSC_4087

Wyenot News Featured Business of the Week
The Old Court Hotel, Whitchurch

As a free additional benefit to those local businesses supporting, every week Wyenot News chooses one local business at random to feature in the current issue of the weekly on-line news magazine.

Victoria and Jono would like to welcome you to The Old Court Hotel, Symonds Yat West. This beautiful hotel is conveniently situated just off the A40 at Symonds Yat West, not far from the market town of Ross-on-Wye. This lovely 16th century building is steeped in history and many original features still exist within the hotel today.

The bar at The Old Court Hotel has many interesting features. The bar itself has a carved frontage which dates back to 1681 and an old clock that goes backwards. In the winter months you will be greeted by a welcoming, roaring log fire, creating a lovely atmosphere in which to enjoy one of the real ales, lagers or ciders available. There is quite a diverse range of spirits on offer and there is a wide screen television for those who enjoy modern day living in Olde Worlde comfort.....

For further information, click here to go to The Old Court Hotel page on

The Old Court Hotel, Whitchurch.
For more local businesses click here!


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