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  1. ITV Report

Cancer centre set to open in Barnstaple in tribute to Devon nurse Laura Harris

A legacy is set to be unveiled to a specialist cancer nurse who lost her own fight against the illness after crowdfunding to pay for her treatment.

Laura Harris died just over a year ago, but one of her passion projects in the last months of her life was a new Cancer and Wellbeing Centre at the North Devon District Hospital, where she worked.

The £1.5 million centre will open in the spring to help patients and their families.

Laura Harris continued to treat patients right up until she died.

The centre is still a building site at the moment, but when it opens it's hoped it will be a haven for cancer patients and their families in Barnstaple.

It's going to be a drop-in centre, it's going to have a place where we can do wig fittings, it's going to offer financial advise, it's going to have counselling, it's going to provide us with complimentary therapies - there's just so much that's all going to go on in this space and it's going to be a real support hub. We truly can't wait.

– Julie Whitton, North Devon District Hospital

It's been a huge labour of love for fundraisers at the hospital, who have been raising money not only to build the centre but also to run it.

One of the most passionate about the need for this service was Laura Harris.

Laura worked at the hospital but then was treated there herself when she was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer, and her fight to raise money to pay for her own treatment because it was not available on the NHS, made headlines.

But it was her care for her patients that makes this new wellbeing centre such a fitting legacy to her.

The new centre has been built as a legacy to specialist cancer nurse Laura Harris.

Laura was absolutely passionate about this project, she was passionate about her patients, her patients loved her and she was so keen to ensure that this centre was going to be built, and she put all her energy into it.

She carried on treating her patients right up until quite a recent time before she passed away - they were so important, this centre was so important - and it's important to us so we can't wait to do this for her too.

– Dawn Gray, Clinical Matron, Cancer Services

The psychological support was also important for Laura - and friends and family say she would be pleased the centre is opening.

The very nature of rural North Devon makes it vital that cancer services are available locally. Builders will hand the project over to the hospital in January, and the first patients are expected to use it by the Spring.

The excitement is already building for the grand opening.

The centre is set to open in the Spring