Look Who's talking

BY ALISON BELLAMY A NEW Doctor swept into a Leeds hospital to inspect a £1m makeover of cancer services for children.

Actor Christopher Eccleston, the new Dr Who, and youngsters Luke Haigh, 17, and Ricky Sanderson, 16, who both have leukaemia, marked the refurbishment by cutting a ribbon at the entrance to the new teenage cancer unit chill-out room at St James's Hospital.

Said the Doctor, who was appearing in Electricity at the West Yorkshire Playhouse: "It's an honour just to be here. It's a really nice place and the staff do a great job. I just called in as I am working in Leeds at the moment."

Leeds United star Alan Smith is a regular visitor to the ward with teammate Gary Kelly but couldn't be there for the opening. His mum Lynne was there instead.

Lady Ingleby, patron of Candlelighters, the charity supporting children with cancer and their families, a was special guest.

Work began last September to create a more child-friendly environment and improve facilities for older teenagers.

Some of the patients, including Luke and Ricky, were involved in the design of the chill-out room. IKEA donated furniture, Yamaha provided a music centre and donations paid for sofas.

Special thanks went to Caroline Baum, whose son Alexander, five, was treated at the unit for leukaemia.

Ward 10 now has 11 electrical hospital beds after Caroline and the North Leeds Candlelighters raised 15,000.

Money from Candlelighters has also paid for a new nurses' station.

Said senior sister Rachel Hollis: "The new resources will help us to provide specialist care for young people in an environment designed and developed around their needs."


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