A CENTRE which provides life-saving cancer treatments is celebrating its 10th birthday.

The Beacon Centre, at Musgrove Park Hospital, in Taunton, opened its doors to patients across Somerset 10 years ago.

It was the first standalone treatment facility of its kind for 20 years, making the hospital a centre of excellence for cancer treatments.

Staff, patients and families gathered at the hospital on Wednesday, January 22, to mark the milestone.

Guests were able to walk a timeline of achievements over the past 10 years, including placement in the national top ten of NHS trusts providing excellent cancer care to patients in 2011, being the first hospital in the UK to implement a brand new breast radiotherapy technique in 2014, and officially opening a new radiotherapy CT scanner in 2018.

They were also able to read testimonials sent in by patients and their families, who shared their stories and experiences of the centre.

Exeter Chiefs and England international rugby player Ben Moon was also in attendance, after choosing the hospital’s official charity Love Musgrove, and its campaign for the Beacon Centre, as one of his official testimonial year charities.

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Dr Petra Jankowska, a consultant oncologist and associate medical director for cancer and clinical support services at Musgrove Park Hospital, said: “We are very proud to have been able to provide cancer treatment to patients across Somerset over the last 10 years.

“Our staff have rightly won many awards over the years for high quality care, customer service excellence, research and innovation.

“We were also the first cancer centre in the UK to appoint a Macmillan consultant radiographer who specialises in the late effects of radiotherapy on patients.

“The Beacon Centre is more than just a team, we are a family, and I hope that’s what people feel when they attend here, whether as a patient, relative, carer, staff member or visitor.

“We look forward to continuing to care for people across Somerset in the future.”

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England international and Exeter Chiefs rugby player Ben Moon’s father was cared for at the Beacon Centre.

“My dad (my hero) was in the Beacon Centre for a short while whilst having his treatment,” he said.

“During the darkest days of his life he still managed to find some happiness in there with a high level of support and care.

“The staff at the Beacon Centre really do make a difference both to patients and families alike.

“I will always be thankful to the Beacon Centre for the reassurance and help they provided when he, and we as his family, needed it most.”

The hospital says there has also been a positive impact on the environment with an estimated 410,000 miles by car and 177 tonnes of CO2 saved by patients not needing to travel to Bristol.