Royal Surrey County Hospital and the Prostate Project are delighted to announce that the new urology centre will be named after a tireless and dedicated fundraiser.
Once completed, the building will be known as ‘The Stokes Centre for Urology,’ honouring the work of Prostate Project Chairman Colin Stokes.
Mr Stokes was 57 years old and had just launched his own consultancy business when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent surgery.
It was during an initial appointment with Consultant Urological Surgeon, John Davies, that he promised to help his doctor raise some money in exchange for ‘keeping him alive.’
The charity that they co-founded was only supposed to run for three years, with the goal of raising a quarter of a million pounds and purchasing an ultrasound scanner and other equipment for the hospital (RSCH).
Almost twenty years on and with a doctorate from the University of Surrey and an MBE from the Queen for services to the Royal Surrey under his belt, the 78-year-old still can’t quite believe what the boy from Bromley, Kent, who left school at 15 years of age, has achieved.
“I can remember when I was 21 years of age and my father saying to me ‘when are you going to get a proper job?” said the grandfather of seven.
“He thought a proper job was working in a bank. I would love to be able to tell him and my mother that a building is going to be named after me, I am sure they would never have believed it.
“If you had told me back in 1998 that the Prostate Project would be helping to build this phenomenal facility and that it would be named after me, I know I would have laughed.
“It is important for me to stress that this is not just an honour for me. It also recognises the incredible team effort from countless individuals over the years, who have helped to bring this project to reality.
“It is also thanks to the very generous donors, who have trusted us with their much needed donations, which of course we still need.”
“I was completely dumbstruck when I was told Royal Surrey wanted to call it The Stokes Centre for Urology and just didn’t know what to say. I still don’t.”
The father-of-three, who will be celebrating his fifty fifth wedding anniversary with wife Barbara this Friday (June 23) said he has always been inspired by a quote from wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we earn, but we make a life by what we give.”
Mr Stokes added: “I would also like to pay tribute to my wife Barbara, who is tolerant beyond belief; supportive in every way and without her input I am sure we would not have achieved so much.
“This is also an opportunity to remind people that the Prostate Project is currently running a buy a brick appeal as part of our commitment to raise £2million towards the costs of the pioneering centre.
“We still need to raise £250,000 and you can help by visiting http://www.prostate-project.org.uk/.”
The project is being jointly funded by the Trust and the Prostate Project, with the charity providing just under half the amount.
Building work on the £4.5 million best-in-class facility started earlier this year and is on schedule to be completed by the summer of 2018.
So far more than 2,300 tons of earth has been removed from the site and the electrical ground work completed.
Mr Stokes, who still requires regular treatment at Royal Surrey, said that once completed the centre will provide an excellence experience for NHS patients and medical staff.
When he is not raising money for the Prostate Project, he is also a trustee of the Meath Epilepsy Charity and chairman of Arthouse Meath.
Alf Turner, director of human resources and business support, who is leading on the project for the Trust said: “Colin Stokes is an inspirational man, who has shown relentless drive and commitment to help other people by creating this best-in-class facility at Royal Surrey.
“Hundreds of thousands of patients and their families will benefit from The Stokes Centre for Urology once completed and they will owe Colin and the Prostate Project a huge debt.”