THE Northern Echo has a proud history as a campaigning newspaper.

From the editorship of WT Stead in the 1870s, when The Northern Echo petitioned to repeal the Contagious Diseases Act, to the period in the 1960s when Harold Evans led a campaign that resulted in a national programme for the detection of cervical cancer, this newspaper has been proud to throw its weight behind worthy causes.

So as we prepare to celebrate our 150th anniversary, we are delighted to be supporting an appeal to raise £1m to transform cancer care for patients across County Durham.

Working with the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust’s official charity, The Northern Echo aims to help establish a new centre of excellence in 2020.

We will work to support existing efforts to expand and improve the chemotherapy day unit at the University Hospital of North Durham, ensuring that cancer patients from across County Durham receive state-of-the-art treatment in a centre that is fit for purpose.

The current unit carries out fantastic work, but is in need of an overhaul. An increasing number of patients means there is a lack of space, and the facilities and infrastructure need upgrading.

Hopefully, that is where we will come in. In the next few months, we will promote and support the Foundation Trust’s charity. If its proposed refurbishment is complete by the end of our 150th year, it will be the best birthday present we could wish for.