The Topiary Salon becomes Ark Our Partner supporter

Husband and wife Matt and Laura Haystaff were delighted to support Ark Cancer Centre Charity through the high-profile Sitting With Jane project – but their backing for the good cause has now taken on an even more personal significance.

Earlier this year, Matt was diagnosed with low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma, an incurable but treatable cancer. Thankfully, he is responding well to treatment – but the diagnosis came as a shock to the family, and it has made both Matt and Laura even more determined to help Ark’s campaign to raise £5million for the new NHS cancer treatment centre.

The couple are both directors of The Topiary Salon, in Old Basing, and the hair and beauty salon they own and run has now come on board as the latest Ark Our Partner business supporter.

Laura, 36, said: “Matt and I were delighted to support Ark through the Sitting With Jane bookbench auction – we bought one bookbench and helped the NorthHantsMums network group buy their bench, which is now located in Basingstoke Discovery Centre.

“Following on from this, we were already thinking about what we could do to support Ark’s fundraising campaign, and then out of the blue, Matt became ill and we were stunned to discover what was wrong.

“Being a young man with work commitments and two young daughters, the diagnosis has come as a shock and has changed everything. However, we are determined to stay positive, and we are now even more determined to help Ark.”

Like so many cancer patients, Matt, who is 42 and also director of another company, has had to travel to Guildford for scans and then daily to Southampton for three weeks for radiotherapy.  

Laura said: “We hadn't realised how intrusive and debilitating the treatment would be, and the travel added to the entire family's anxiety and stress. 

“The new cancer treatment centre will ease the anguish for patients and families, so we want to do what we can to help make it happen as soon as possible.” 

The Topiary Salon team have already got their Ark Our Partner campaign off to a flying start by stocking, and selling, special Ark bands that are made by charity supporter Sharon Allen.

Laura said: “The Topiary Salon team are proud to be Ark Our Partner supporters, and we are looking forward to getting involved in organising, and supporting, activities and events that help to raise funds for, and awareness of, the £5m appeal and the cancer treatment centre project.

“This new cancer treatment centre cannot be built soon enough, and like many families in and around Basingstoke, we know how it will make such a big difference.”

Mark Jones, director of fundraising and communications for Ark Cancer Centre Charity, said: “Ark is delighted to have The Topiary Salon on board as an Our Partner business supporter.

“Matt and Laura are positive and determined people, who have already made a difference to Ark through their wonderful support for the Sitting With Jane project. Their ongoing support, and that of their team at The Topiary Salon, is very much appreciated.” 

Ark Cancer Centre Charity is raising £5million towards the new cancer treatment centre, and this will provide a range of support services and complementary therapies, alongside chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, in a calm and uplifting environment.

Largely being funded by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT), plans are progressing to locate the new cancer treatment centre on the existing Basingstoke hospital site.

Picture caption:

Members of The Topiary Salon team – Samantha Joyce, Milly Knight, Jack Bishop, Rachel Dillon, and Laura Haystaff – wearing their Ark bands.