Out in the Field with Herald Chief Reporter Annemarie Field: Why are we waiting for the new Pevensey cancer unit?

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THE LIST of things that annoy me and others continues to grow even longer. One OAP, vintage 1936, wrote to me recently with their litany of pet hates, most of which I agree with.

People using and shouting into their mobile phones on buses, mothers smoking while they’re pushing buggies, ignoramuses who push past without saying excuse me, that revolting habit of men who spit and finally those who drop chewing gum on the ground.

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SOMETHING has been bugging me for some time and perhaps the powers that be at the DGH could explain why, after several years of fundraising by the good folk of Eastbourne, there is still no sign of the long-awaited specialist cancer Pevensey Unit?

Not wanting to come across as a moaning Minnie since I have the greatest admiration for the DGH, its staff and the National Health Service, which I happen to think is the best in the world, I and a number of others are becoming increasingly concerned as to why the plans for the new unit are still just that – plans sitting on the drawing board.

The current Pevensey Unit is bursting at the seams and its dedicated staff, who are always at every fundraiser as well as doing their own events to boost the coffers, are looking after seriously ill patients in cramped conditions.

For the past few years they have desperately, desperately needed more space and up to date facilities.

The NHS said it would provide part of the money with the rest coming from the public and the unit would be within the grounds of the DGH.

From sponsored walks to skydives, cake sales to quiz nights, fundraisers have done it all, the majority of them having either passed through Pevensey Ward at some point or lost loved ones to that horrible, horrible disease that is cancer.

When the appeal first started, the plan was that the new unit would be well under way by now, but it was put off for a year because of cash cuts, then another year passed and now no-one is any the wiser as to when it will become a reality.

After losing my father to pancreatic cancer, watching my younger cousin Julie survive the disease against the odds and now one of my dearest friends battling breast cancer, I always dig deep when it comes to someone shaking a bucket for the Pevensey Ward Appeal.

I certainly do not want to put anyone off giving money to the Pevensey Unit appeal.

But it’s difficult to answer the question posed by those generous members of the public who, quite rightly, point out they have been donating to the appeal for many years now but have yet to see their money put to good use.

Some answers would be good.

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NOT MUCH shocks me these days. Even looking in the mirror first thing in the morning and realising I could haunt a house is no longer a surprise.

But the sight of what appeared to be a 10-year-old boy smoking a cigarette on a bike outside Hampden Park Railway Station one morning really did upset me.

I was tempted to wind my window down and point out that smoking stunts your growth, blah, blah, blah, but then I was worried he might wave the pen knife hanging from a chain on his belt at me and in no uncertain terms tell me to Foxtrot Oscar.