GUESTS were bowled over at the official opening of a new-look Airedale Hospital unit.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the refurbished haematology and oncology day unit (HODU) was performed by Yorkshire cricket star George Hill, who was born at the Steeton hospital.

"It is a real privilege to be here," he said.

"I was born at Airedale nearly 22 years ago and I know how important the hospital is for the local community.

"On behalf of all the lads from Yorkshire County Cricket Club, I want to say a massive 'thank you' to the NHS and Airedale staff for the work they’ve done over the years and continue to do."

The unit has undergone a £175,000 revamp, funded entirely by Airedale Hospital & Community Charity – thanks to donations from the public and the Friends of Airedale.

Features of the refurb include an additional treatment room, upgraded technology and 12 new pressure-relieving chairs for patients receiving chemotherapy. Non-slip vinyl flooring has been installed, together with new wall graphics and images. Rooms have been redecorated.

Patients played a key part in deciding on the improvements, including colour schemes and the style of furniture.

Donors and their families, staff and executives from the NHS health trust –together with members of the community – were amongst those at the opening ceremony.

Guests included James Bush, who fundraised for the unit in memory of his father.

"He attended HODU on and off for five years and spent a lot of hours on the unit," says James.

"We lost father during Covid and couldn’t have a full funeral so we waited until the end of the pandemic to put on a memorial event so that his friends, colleagues and everyone he knew could celebrate him.

"Our initial idea was to raise money for chairs or equipment that would make a patient’s stay on the unit more comfortable. The aim was to raise £10,000 but after speaking to the charity team we learned the refurb would cost £175,000 – so our new target was ten per cent of that.

"We received lots of support and ended up raising £30,000. The incredible amount is testament to my father and the draw that he had."

The refurbishment work was carried out by Davric Construction – helped by AGH Solutions, the estates department at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust. Davric also provided a donation to fund refreshments at the opening event.