IT gets better and better for the One in Eight Appeal launched by the Hereford Times just over 13 weeks ago.

Generous readers have pulled out all the stops and contributed an average of almost £2,000 a week to the appeal, which aims to raise £30,000 to fund an extra nurse for a year at Hereford’s Haven breast cancer centre.

This means we are already just £5,000 short of our target - and now the chairman of Herefordshire Council, Councillor Brian Wilcox has also pledged his backing for the coming year.

So with the appeal capturing the hearts of so many people in such a short space of time, this week we are announcing an extension of our campaign.

Cllr Wilcox, who supported Haven with a substantial donation during his year as Hereford Mayor in 2012-13, has joined forces with the newspaper to raise as much money as we can for One in Eight during his first year as chairman of the local authority.

Editor Clive Joyce said: “Knowing that many other fund-raising activities – including people running in next year’s London Marathon – are already in the pipeline, and now having the support of Mr Wilcox, we felt we should extend the appeal and try to fund a nurse for two years instead of one.

“We believe the momentum is so great that we have a great chance of doubling our original efforts and will now attempt to support Haven to the tune of £60,000.”

Mr Wilcox said: “The Haven is such a marvellous cancer charity. During my year as the mayor of the city, with substantial public support, I raised £21,000 for them and I know it was put to good use to help not only breast cancer sufferers, but other cancer victims and their families.

“The One in Eight Appeal has already been a huge success and I am hoping our combined efforts will provide Haven with a nurse for at least two years.

Haven manager Frankie Devereux said: “We are delighted that Cllr Wilcox is backing the campaign and enabling the appeal to be extended.

“This gives us the certainty of knowing that we have guaranteed funding for the new postholder.

“I would like to thank The Hereford Times, Cllr Wilcox and all the wonderful fundraisers for their help and support, which has enabled us to help hundreds of women – and their families – through one of the hardest times of their lives.”

She added: “As we receive no government funding, we have to raise every penny ourselves, and without such generosity from the public we simply could not continue to provide the outstanding care and treatment – free of charge - that our visitors need.

“The number of visitors attending the Hereford Haven rises every year and for many of them it is a real lifeline, helping them – and their families - to cope with the physical and emotional impact of their breast cancer, and to achieve the best possible quality of life.”