PEOPLE of Taunton Deane, West Somerset and beyond - your hospital needs you.

Love Musgrove, the charity of Taunton’s Musgrove Park Hospital, has launched a campaign to raise £1 million to buy a new MRI Scanner for the hospital.

The County Gazette is backing the bid and is calling on readers to give what they can and come up with ideas to help reach the target by March 2018.

The two existing MRI scanners at the site are now at full capacity, and the hospital urgently needs a new scanner to support patients who need it most.

Love Musgrove is asking people in Somerset to help the 500,000 plus residents who will benefit from the new equipment, meaning they won’t have to wait as long for treatment or travel elsewhere.

Legendary England and Somerset cricketer Marcus Trescothick officially launched the appeal yesterday (Wednesday, April 26), in front of staff and visitors at Musgrove.

Mr Trescothick was joined by Colin Drummond, Taunton and Somerset NHS Trust chairman, Peter Lewis, deputy chief executive, and Elizabeth Ladd, head of imaging for the launch.

Marcus said: “As a local man, and someone who is more than familiar with MRI scanning, I’m proud to support the campaign.

“By supporting it and helping our excellent hospital to achieve its goal of £1million, you will be helping to ensure that people in Somerset are able to make use of this advanced equipment for cancer diagnosis, neurological conditions and of course sports injuries in the years to come.

Somerset County Gazette:

BACKING THE APPEAL: Somerset and England cricketer Marcus Trescothick​ launching the appeal at Musgrove Park Hospital.

“As cricketers we really need that access to MRI scanners and I have lost track of the amount of times I have needed an MRI scan in my career.

“Being able to have MRI scans and X-rays through the club is so important for us and one of our players had one just this week.

“As an asset for the town, Musgrove is just so crucial. My kids were born here and I have been here many times to different departments. It is essential we keep it up to date and up to date and upgrade where needed.

“Everybody here does such a great job and it maybe doesn’t get appreciated as much as it should.

“Only last week one of our bowlers went for an MRI scan.”

Also lending her support to the campaign as patron is Somerset’s Lord Lieutenant Annie Maw.

Somerset County Gazette:

Peter Lewis, deputy chief executive at Musgrove, said: “Thank you all for supporting the launch of the first big fundraising campaign that we have done, to get a third MRI scanner in the hospital.

“We are very committed to providing the best care for our patients.

“We need the very best technology to provide the best care for our patients.

“We are at least using the capacity of two scanners already and that is increasing.

“Access to MRI scanners is really important. This is about patients and getting best access for our patients.”

Somerset Unit for Radiotherapy Equipment (SURE) and League of Friends - two of the hospital’s other charities - have each pledged £100,000, giving a healthy start to the fundraising.

Paul Alway, chairman of SURE: "We are supporting this campaign as recent analysis has shown that over 25 per cent of MRI use is for cancer diagnosis, treatment planning or follow up.

"Ensuring fast and accurate diagnosis will help treat cancer patients quickly.

"We are also seeking to raise a further £150,000 towards the £1M campaign, on top of the £100,000 we have already pledged.”

Somerset County Gazette:

Dr Sam Barrell, chief executive of Musgrove Park Hospital, said: “It’s vital we secure the funding for an additional scanner so that we can contin- ue to offer life changing support to patients.”

RELATED: MUSGROVE NEEDS YOU: Hospital's chief executive calls on readers to support campaign

If you would like to donate to the campaign or want to hold a fundraising event to help reach the target, click here to find out more.