Michael Ball visits St Richard’s Hospital

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SINGING star Michael Ball visited St Richard’s Hospital to check out the haematology and oncology unit he had helped to raise money to build.

The performer, who recently ended his successful run playing Sweeney Todd at the Chichester Festival Theatre, made an informal visit to the Fernhurst Centre, where he met patients and staff.

He was one of the numerous individuals, charities and groups who contributed to funding the £4.1m centre, and also took part in the ‘turf-cutting’ ceremony in 2008.

“I am just so proud to have been a tiny cog in this enormous machine,” he said. “It is so impressive, really extraordinary.

“No-one wants to have to come to hospital, but this is a wonderful place.”

During his visit, Michael met patient Arthur Smith, 65, who said: “This is a fantastic place, so airy. Coming into hospital as often as I do would be so much worse if I had to go to an old, dingy unit, but this is beautiful.”