Rotary bookbench installed at Ark-funded centre

IT’S a beautiful work of art and a symbol of the superb support from local Rotarians for Ark Cancer Centre Charity – and now the ‘Jane Talk’ bookbench has been installed as a key feature of the new wellbeing centre.

Cancer patients and their loved ones will be able to see the wonderful bookbench when they visit the Ark-funded centre in the Radiotherapy Unit at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital.

Ark Cancer Centre Charity was the charity partner of the 2017 ‘Sitting With Jane’ public art bookbench trail which celebrated the life of Basingstoke author Jane Austen. The trail featured 24 bookbenches, and 22 of these were auctioned at the end of the event, raising around £70,000 for Ark.

The ‘Jane Talk’ bookbench, created by artist Jenny Leonard, was sponsored for the trail, and bought at the auction, by Basingstoke Deane Rotary Club members. The Rotarians then kindly donated the bookbench to the charity.

Alan Gibson, Basingstoke Deane Rotary Club President in 2016-17, and fellow Rotarians Alf McCarthy, Tony Pickering, and Rod Clarke delivered the bookbench to its new home on April 29.

Alan said: “Basingstoke Deane Rotarians are proud to be long-time supporters of Ark Cancer Centre Charity and its ongoing campaign to deliver enhanced care and support for cancer patients and their loved ones, so we are delighted to see the ‘Jane Talk’ bookbench installed in the new wellbeing centre.

“The bookbench is in tip-top condition, having received a fresh coat of varnish, and we are pleased that it is now a key feature of the wellbeing centre environment.”

Merv Rees, Ark Cancer Centre Charity Trustee, said: “Everyone at Ark is so grateful to the Basingstoke Deane Rotarians for their wonderful and ongoing support for the charity, and we are all delighted to see the ‘Jane Talk’ bookbench in its new home.

“‘Sitting With Jane’ was one of most significant events on the charity’s fundraising journey so far, and the generosity of the Basingstoke Deane Rotarians in sponsoring, buying and donating the bookbench means the people Ark is helping can now see, and enjoy, this lovely work of art.”  

The creation of the wellbeing centre is a landmark in Ark’s campaign to raise funds for the delivery of care, support and an enhanced environment for cancer patients and their loved ones in a new cancer treatment centre. This will be part of the new hospital to be built in the Basingstoke area during the second half of the decade.