Robert White Cancer Centre opens in Dorchester

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Martin Clunes
Image caption,
Martin Clunes officially opened the unit, saying it would cut journey times for patients

A new cancer treatment centre for Dorset, funded by a £10m legacy from a local photographer and businessman, has been officially opened.

Robert White, from Poole, died from cancer in 2015, aged 62.

The legacy included his collection of motorcycles, cars, watches and cameras, which raised more than £3.5m at auction in 2016.

The Robert White Centre at Dorset County Hospital, Dorchester, was opened by actor Martin Clunes on Wednesday.

The £7m centre, which houses radiotherapy and outpatient facilities, is a satellite centre of the Dorset Cancer Centre based at Poole.

Mr Clunes, who lives in Beaminster, said the centre was "so welcome" because it would cut travel times for patients in other parts of the county.

Consultant oncologist Dr Mike Bayne said: "There are definitely some patients, particularly the elderly, who might decline treatment because of the travel time... so this is a big, big step."

Mr White, from Poole, started his collection after setting up a photography business in the town in 1982.

More than 600 lots, including vintage and classic motorcycles and cars, were auctioned at Bonham's after his death.

A 1930 Bentley 4.5 litre Le Mans-style tourer fetched £315,100.

Image source, Bonhams
Image caption,
A 1930 Bentley 4.5 litre Le Mans-style tourer, included in the auction, fetched £315,100

Other highlights from the sale included a 1921 Megola 640cc touring motorcycle, which sold for £82,140, and a gold limited series Daniels wristwatch, which made £224,500.

Before his death, Mr White also sold his collection of Brough Superior vintage motorcycles to his friend, US chat show host Jay Leno, for nearly £3m. The cash funded the start of work at the centre.

Image source, Reuters/Bonhams
Image caption,
A previous sale of motorbikes owned by Robert White (right) to his friend and US talk show host Jay Leno has already helped to fund a new cancer treatment centre in Dorset

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