5 April 2013
An international organisation with a long history of supporting good causes will later this month present £2,500 to the Mary Barron Suite at Essex County Hospital.
The money was raised last year by four lodges - three in Colchester and one in Clacton - of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (RAOB), a fraternal organisation commonly known as the "Buffs"
It will be used by the Mary Barron Suite, where outpatients go for chemotherapy, to improve patient facilities.
The idea to support the unit came from Klaus McMinn, who was the senior officer - or the "Provincial Grand Primo" to use Buffs' terminology - for the lodges in 2012.
"My wife Helen was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2007," he said.
"The treatment she got at the Mary Barron Suite was excellent and the support they gave me as her husband was also first-class.
"Therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to choose the unit as the fundraising cause of my year in office as Provincial Grand Primo."
Mrs McMinn was later declared to be in remission.
Her husband is expected to be accompanied by about half-a-dozen members at the presentation on 17 April.
The money was raised in a variety of ways, including by an end-of-year draw, donations from the individual lodges and from The Hospital Arms pub in Crouch Street, Colchester, opposite Essex County Hospital, which has a track record of supporting the Buffs. Years ago, the pub was known as Ward 9 because it was popular with staff from the hospital.
Sister Vanessa Bradbury from the Mary Barron Suite said: "The staff are very grateful for the support of the Buffs.
"All the money will go towards improving the patient environment and facilities when we transfer to Colchester General Hospital in the near future.
"We strive to ensure that time spent on the chemotherapy unit is as comfortable as possible at what can be a very difficult time."
There are approximately 1,000 patient episodes of chemotherapy every month at the Mary Barron Suite (some patients may be treated more than once a month).
The unit has 18 staff - two administrators, two healthcare assistants, a chemotherapy information nurse and 13 nurses. It is named after the first matron of Essex County Hospital in the early 19th century.
In 2007 one of the Buffs' Colchester lodges donated £200 to the Mary Barron Suite