A vital transport service for Isle of Wight cancer patients – travelling to and from the Island – has been unveiled in Newport.

Grant funding has enabled Wessex Cancer Trust to buy a new Daisy Bus – which has funding secured into 2020 – thanks to incredible fundraising efforts of individuals, groups and businesses on the Island.

Funding cuts in 2017 posed a threat to the service, which transports Islanders to their Portsmouth hospital appointments for free.

To celebrate the arrival of the new vehicle and the success of the appeal, the charity is hosted a thank-you event for all supporters at the charity’s support centre in Lugley Street.

Those attending included Island businesses and organisations that have been heavily involved in protecting the service.

Barry Ronaldi, from the Wessex Cancer Trust, said:

“For us a charity, we are so proud to be helping residents of the Island. It means patients now don’t have to worry if the bus will arrive.

“We must say a big thanks to everyone who has supported – especially the Islae of Wight Freemasons, Hovertravel and the Lions Club. We are very grateful for all of the support receive – it is vital.”

Among them are the Island’s Freemasons and the IW Prostate Cancer Support Group, who raised thousands towards the appeal, and Hovertravel, which has donated 10% of its ticket fares from patients travelling across the water.

Chris Jarman, from the Isle of Wight Freemasons, said:

“I have been involved with the Wessex Cancer Trust, fundraising, for around 15 years now.

“Two and half years ago, we heard it needed some funding so we put a message out to the 17 lodges and every single f them came forward with a donation for it. Everyone knows how vital and important the service is.”

The new bus, which was funded by grants from the Clothworkers’ Foundation and Football for Cancer, were at the event.

Neil Chapman, Managing Director of Hovertravel, said:

“We are proud to be supporting such a vital link for Island cancer patients.

“We are always looking to make travelling across the Solent as a pain-free as possible.”

Wessex Cancer Trust’s CEO, Cait Allen, said:

“Being able to purchase a new minibus will help reduce our ongoing costs significantly while also providing a more comfortable experience for patients travelling to the mainland for treatment.

“We have much to celebrate and we’d love everyone that has supported the appeal to join us next Wednesday so we can say thank you in person.”

To maintain the future of the service for years to come, the charity is planning to host a dedicated Daisy Day annually, with more details to follow.

If you’d like to donate to the Daisy Bus, click here and put ‘Daisy Bus’ in the comment box or call (01983) 524186.