Staff, patients and supporters of the Sir William Rous Cancer Unit are celebrating the fifth anniversary of the £4.5m facility.

On July 26, 2008, Princess Alexandra officially opened Kingston Hospital’s new, £4.5m Sir William Rous Unit.

The day was a culmination of an extraordinary six-year fundraising campaign, the Kingston Can Appeal, which the Queen’s cousin had herself launched in May 2001 at Hampton Court.

It saw a total of 58,000 donations come in from businesses, charities and individuals, with the Kingston Guardian running a story on the appeal every single week from start to finish.

Former Kingston Can appeal director Ian Pay said: “The biggest thrill was to see it completed, opened and then operating as a working unit which is now making a big difference to the lives of many people.

“It was a time when I felt the hospital and the community it serves really came together, and the wonderful support and energy we received was amazing.

“I would like to thank again everybody who gave to the appeal and especially thank all who worked on the appeal and the many volunteers who made it all possible.”

Today, the Sir William Rous Unit is one of the UK’s leading outpatient and diagnostics clinics for people with cancer.

On average, 180 people a month receive treatment at the Unit’s chemotherapy suite, run by the Royal Marsden Hospital.

An information and support service run by Macmillan Cancer Support receives more than 200 enquiries every month, and offers counselling, yoga sessions, complimentary therapies and the Look Good Feel Better workshops, which helps women manage the visible effects of cancer treatment.

It was named after British Army General Sir William Rous, who was Kingston Hospital chairman from 1996 until his death from cancer in 1999.

This week his widow Lady Judy Rous said: "I am completely thrilled with the sucess of the unit, particularly with so many  services all under one roof."

Kingston Hospital chief executive Kate Grimes said: “The Sir William Rous Unit has continued to build on the unique partnership with The Royal Marsden and Macmillan Cancer Support.

“The unit brings cancer care and outpatient chemotherapy treatment under one roof and closer to home for our patients.

“It is a fantastic facility and both my chairman [Ian Reynolds] and I have been hugely impressed by the expertise and compassion shown by all the staff who work there.

“The strength of the partnership is clear and I hope the unit and its services continue to grow.”

The Kingston Can Appeal still exists today, collecting money for the unit in order to buy the latest equipment for diagnosing and treating cancer .

Appeal manager Barry Couling said: “The appeal is tremendously well supported and the newsletter we send out twice a year brings in thousands of pounds for upkeep and maintenance.

“I am proud to be associated with the unit and with the tremendous work it undertakes for the community.”

For more information about Kingston Can, call 020 8934 3816 or visit the website.