A VITAL piece of equipment, which will make an enormous difference to processing blood samples for leukaemia patients, has been installed thanks to the fundraising efforts of an Evesham charity.

The Plate Reader machine is worth £25,000, all of which was raised by The Tracy Sollis Leukaemia Trust.

The charity was co-founded by Sue Sollis, who lost her daughter Tracy, nearly 20 years ago to Leukaemia.

Since then Mrs Sollis and those around her have been tirelessly fundraising in memory of brave Tracy.

This Plate Reader is the latest of their fundraising achievements and has been installed in the Tracy Sollis Laboratory.

It will enable scientists to process samples quickly and easily and it will make a huge difference by processing in two minutes what would normally take about seven hours.

Mrs Sollis travelled to London together with members of the trustee Board to visit the laboratory situated on the grounds of the Royal Free Hospital, which is run by the Anthony Nolan Research Institute.

The Plate Reader was formally received by Professor Alejandro Madrigal with Steven Cox BSc, PhD providing a working demonstration of its abilities.

Mrs Sollis said: "The Trustees including myself were absolutely fascinated by its performance and the difference it will make. It was quite amazing. It was great to see it there in the lab.

"All the money for it has been raised locally. We were approached about the equipment and asked for £15,000.

"But we discovered there was this other equipment that would process cells more accurately. We thought if we are going to have something why not get the top of the range equipment."

So the fundraising began for the equipment.

But the trust also raises money for many other things including respite breaks at the Farncombe Estate near Broadway for sufferers and offering two complimentary therapists.

"Last year our complimentary therapist saw 518 patients. As a result we have now taken on a second therapist to keep up with the demand," added Mrs Sollis.

Moving forward the trust is also planning on producing posters advising on the symptoms of leukaemia.

"For me the best reward is when you can improve someone's quality of life and put a smile on their face," said Mrs Sollis. "And getting it out there that we are here to help and are approachable."