Prince William hails the hope and belief of cancer patients and medical staff during this ‘darkest of times’

The Duke of Cambridge has acknowledged the “unimaginable challenges” faced by both cancer patients and specialists this year as he paid tribute to their ability to embody hope in the “darkest of times”.

The Duke visited The Royal Marsden hospital in Sutton, Surrey, to hear about the rapid changes undertaken to keep treatment going and to mark the start of construction for a new state-of-the-art Oak Cancer Centre.

It comes 30 years after his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, laid a ceremonial foundation stone to commemorate the building of the Chelsea Wing at The Royal Marsden in London.

The Duke, 38, said it was important to recognise the “tremendous” work that continues, giving hope to the thousands dealing with cancer, irrespective of the pandemic.

“Every time I visit the Marsden, I am struck not just by the significant advances that are being made in research and treatment, but also by the hope and belief embodied by each patient and member of staff, even in the darkest of times,” he said.

“The knock on effects of coronavirus have been felt widely, but the impact on cancer treatment for patients up and down the country has been one of the most acute and challenging.”

He added: “I am personally delighted to be with you today to lay the foundation stone of the Oak Centre, thirty years after my mother did the very same thing at The Royal Marsden in Chelsea.”

Before he officially broke the ground he laid the new building’s foundation stone, he said he wanted to “pause and acknowledge the unimaginable challenges that all those at the Marsden have faced this year.”

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