A BRAND new initiative to help Ark Cancer Centre Charity move a step closer to achieving its goal has been launched.

The Basingstoke charity- which is raising £5m for a new cancer treatment centre- has launched a 24-hour campaign with an aim of raising money and awareness.

The longest daylight day of the year, Friday, 21 June, will be rebranded as Ark Day, with an invite to everyone in Basingstoke and Deane to fundraise and make a big difference in a small way.

Trustee of the Ark Cancer Centre Charity and world-leading liver cancer surgeon, Merv Rees, said: “People have the power to make a really big difference with a small donation on Ark Day.

“Nearly 180,000 people live in Basingstoke and Deane.

“If everyone donates just £1 on Friday, 21 June, then this will make a massive difference to Ark’s £5m campaign.”

The team behind Ark Day will be organising a series of events on June 21 and it is hoped that people, businesses, schools and community organisations in the area will support these and organise their own.

The Ark Day Organising Committee has volunteers from a range of organisations – Apollo Hotel, Clarke & Son Solicitors, Champion Group, Lamb Brooks Solicitors, Metro Bank, RewindDigital, and Rotary Basingstoke Deane – as well as members of Ark Cancer Centre Charity’s team.

The Gazette is also represented on the committee and is the media sponsor for Ark Day.

Publisher and editor-in-chief of The Gazette, Bill Browne, said: “Every now and then, a community comes together to support one cause.

“This year, The Gazette recognises the tremendous work being put in place from all corners of Basingstoke and Deane to support Ark Cancer Centre Charity and make the cancer treatment centre a reality.

“We want to encourage as many of the inhabitants of the town and borough to contribute to Ark Day because we know the benefits of building this centre will be long felt.”

Keen supporter of the Ark, David Gray, lost his wife Hazel to breast cancer in 2018, and was at the launch photocall at Castle Hill Primary School on Monday.

Hearing about Ark through being a member of Basingstoke Hospital’s Male Voice Choir, David was keen to get involved.

David said: “I think it is absolutely fantastic.

“I was over the moon to hear about it [Ark Day] and potentially £180,000 over the course of the day would make a huge difference.

“I know that having a place like the Ark wants to build would have helped Hazel in the last few months of her life.”

The Ark Day Organising Committee started planning the event last summer.

Ark Cancer Centre Charity’s £5m will provide a range of support services and complementary therapies, alongside chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, in a calm and uplifting environment.

Largely being funded by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT), plans are progressing to locate the new cancer treatment centre on the existing Basingstoke hospital site.

For more information about Ark Day and arranging a visit from mascot Moneypenny, go to arkday.co.uk.