COMMUNITY leaders and patients have expressed sadness at the closure of a national breast cancer charity's Hampshire centre due to a funding collapse.

As reported, Breast Cancer Haven in Titchfield has announced it will be permanently closing having seen a 50 per cent drop in donations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Reacting to the closure announcement, borough councillor Connie Hockley, who represents the Titchfield ward, said she was devastated.

Cllr Hockley said: “I’m really sad, they were giving back to the community a lot and helping many people. The staff were so dedicated that I’m heart-throbbed for them all.

“It was a super and calm environment for people to go into, and just for a chat if that’s all they needed.

“I’m very upset, very devastated and very sad that they will be leaving our lovely village in Titchfield.”

Fareham Borough Council leader Sean Woodward said: “I’m terribly sad for the charity, the employees and most importantly for the clients that they were helping.

“What they did was very valuable to Fareham and a much wider area.”

The centre, which launched an urgent donation appeal in March, offered patients a safe space and guidance through their breast cancer journey.

Lucy Norris-Hill was part of the centre’s support group.

The 51-year-old from Whiteley said: “ It wasn’t just about treatment, it was about community.

“The centre supported me emotionally and was amazing on focusing on individuality.

“Cancer can make you feel anxious and to be around other women going through the same thing was very supportive.”

Jacqui Sell, 59 and from Havant, often visited the centre after being diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2019. She said: “The support group was really important to me. There was always someone who could offer encouragement and empathy. It was somewhere where everybody understood, no matter what part of the journey.

“It was a feeling of calm, peacefulness and hope.”

The centre opened in 2015 and offered support for people diagnosed or affected by breast cancer.

In a statement, CEO Sally Hall said: “The decision has not been taken lightly. Unfortunately, the financial conditions imposed by the pandemic have left us very little choice, and we must put the people who have breast cancer and their families at the heart of our decisions.”