FUNDS raised at a Whitchurch garden festival have helped to pay for two life-changing pieces of medical equipment.

The Hampshire Country and Garden Festival, held at Bere Mill, Whitchurch, in June, generated £55,000 for its chosen charity, the Hampshire Medical Fund

Organisers had hoped to use the cash to purchase a Sysmex Sentimag Monitor, which would hugely improve a breast cancer patient’s experience of surgery.

But after smashing its fundraising target, a pair of monitors were bought - one for Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester, and one for Basingstoke hospital.

Each is expected to benefit more than 200 patients a year at either location.

Siobhan Laws, consultant breast surgeon at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester, said: “This machine is changing people with breast cancer’s lives. It means fewer appointments prior to surgery, which in turn helps with appointment scheduling and therefore reduces stress levels for both patients and surgeons and makes the operating theatres run more efficiently.

“By having this piece of equipment in Winchester with the Magtrace facility, it means that patients no longer have to make trips to multiple hospitals at an already stressful time in their lives just prior to surgery.”

Holly Kingsford, committee member for the Hampshire Country and Garden Festival, added: “We’re delighted that money raised by our show is being put to such a good use by the breast cancer teams at the Royal Hampshire hospital and Basingstoke and North Hampshire hospital.

“We’re very thankful to JM Finn, for being our gold sponsor for the last two years, as through their very generous sponsorship we have been able to grow the event.

“We had a fantastic show this year with just under 4,000 people enjoying the entertainment, demonstrations and workshops, gift and garden stalls and delicious food and drink.

“We are already planning next year’s event, which will be held on Sunday 14th June 2020, where we hope to be able raise money to buy more equipment for the Hampshire Medical Fund.”