ISLE of Wight cancer sufferers will still have the support of the Wessex Cancer Trust (WCT) after communities joined forces to help save the charity.

WCT issues a crisis appeal in December, saying it risked closure due to a funding shortfall.

But Islanders and people in Hampshire and Dorset came good and the appeal raised £290,000 in just eight weeks.

On the Isle of Wight, key fundraising events, organised by Island fundraiser Lorraine White, included a Wear It Bright Day and a New Year's Day dip in the sea at Shanklin.

The original appeal had set a £600,000 target but Barry Rinaldi, WCT chairman, said: "We acknowledge this is some way from the amount we asked for . However, we remain confident WCT has a future.

"A number of savings have been made to streamline the charity as much as possible within its fixed-cost constraints.

"This has included closing shops, selling assets and reducing overheads."

Chief executive Cait Allen said: "It was incredibly moving to see people coming through the doors, emptying their purses and gathering friends for fundraising events.

"The messages accompanying the online donations really brought it home to us that we make an amazing difference to people's lives at a time they need help most."

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