A CARTOONIST has lent his support to a campaign to maintain a town's cancer unit.

Arthur Morgan has released drawings to back protestors who want to stop health chiefs moving the haematology unit from Darlington Memorial Hospital to Bishop Auckland General Hospital.

A committee raised almost £300,000 to get the unit for leukaemia patients opened in the late 1980s. At the time, the campaign symbol was a smiling drop of blood, designed by Nicola Hetherington, a pupil at Branksome School, where Mr Morgan was a teacher.

He has altered the image to represent the anger felt by fundraisers at the proposal to merge the six-bed unit with a unit at Bishop Auckland."The loss of the unit will see the loss of a valued local facility," he said.

A public meeting called by objectors to the proposal takes place this evening at 7pm in the Mezzanine Room at Darlington College of Technology.

Members of County Durham and Darlington Acute Hospitals NHS Trust's board will discuss the plan at a meeting at Bishop Auckland General Hospital this morning at 10am.

It will also be debated at a meeting of Darlington Borough Council's health scrutiny committee at 1pm on March 7 in Darlington Town Hall.