A SILCHESTER couple, who know first-hand how devastating cancer can be, are fundraising for the provision of more local radiotherapy.

Jerry Leach was diagnosed with throat cancer in September 2010 and, following an operation to remove his larynx and vocal chords in February 2011, he and his wife Chris, 64, faced six weeks of trips every day to Guildford, where Jerry received radiotherapy.

Chris said: “It would have made a huge difference having treatment closer to us. It was physically and mentally draining.

“We are lucky to have family who were able to help us out with the driving, but not everybody has that.”

She described the 60-mile-plus round trips as “very hard”.

Jerry, who has since taught himself to talk again, was keen to praise Basingstoke hospital consultant Mr Paul Spraggs, who travelled up to Guildford to perform the surgery.

Jerry, 54, said: “The care we had was absolutely fantastic. It just would have been good if that care was closer to us.”

Chris’ daughter Tracey Smart, 42, and her husband Simon, 50, run the Bramley Bakery and are running a raffle in aid of the appeal.

Jerry and Chris, of Early Lands, Silchester, are also holding tabletop sales, tombola stalls and similar events to help pull in the pounds.

Chris said: “We don’t have a target. We’re just going to raise as much as possible.”

The Pinpoint Appeal, run by the North Hampshire Medical Fund, has a target of raising £450,000 for a new radiotherapy planning CT scanner with laser positioning system at Basingstoke hospital.

The equipment will move in 2016 to the site of a cancer treatment centre, the location of which has yet to be confirmed, but which will be built in the area of land encircled by the A34, A303 and M3.

To donate to the appeal visit nhmedicalfund. org/the-pinpoint-appeal.