A LEADING entrepreneur is calling on businesses in Colchester and Tendring to get behind Colchester Hospitals Charity's (CoHoc) Cancer Centre Campaign.

Paul Milsom is supporting the 2019 Club - an initiative where businesses are asked to donate £2,019.

It will be launched at the Milsom Business Showcase networking event on Thursday April 19 at Le Talbooth, Dedham, one of the group of hotels and restaurants Mr Milsom is managing director of.

In return for their donation, club members will benefit from exclusive member-only events while helping to ensure the aspirations of the new cancer centre at Colchester Hospital are met.

These will include behind the scenes hospital tours, discussions with clinicians and key decision makers and a chance to meet like-minded people.

Work is set to start on the new £3.25million state-of-the-art facility and while £2.9million has been raised through fundraising and donations already, another £348,261 is required to complete the project which is due to open next year.

Mr Milsom, the patron of the club and a founding member, said: “We all know people who have been affected by cancer.

“It’s a traumatic time for patients.

"If it was me, a member of my family or a friend, I would want to be treated in an environment that is calm, welcoming and less daunting than your typical NHS clinic or treatment space, which is why I am backing this initiative and calling on others to join me.”

Colchester Hospital Chief Executive Nick Hulme said: “The business community in Colchester and Essex has a long history of supporting its local hospitals, ever since Essex County Hospital was founded 200 years ago.

“I am confident that with the help of the community we serve, the fundraising campaign will be completed this year and the new centre will open in 2019.”

Mr Milsom also helped raise £15,000 for the new cancer centre after a pledge to raise £5,000 a year for three years.

The money was raised through a number of charity events including a fundraising dinner.

Caroline Bates, head of charity and fundraising at CoHoC, said: “We’ve had a phenomenal response from the community so far and even though we’re nearing our £3.2million target we can’t stop yet.

"The 2019 Club is a fantastic way for local companies to get involved and be part of this life-changing project.”

The 2019 Club will be active until mid-2019 when the new cancer centre opens.