A CASH-strapped cancer charity has almost reached the £50,000 milestone to mark the start of a pledge to continue supporting people with cancer.

Wessex Cancer Trust, who urgently need to raise £600,000 by January 31 2020, have officially raised over £37,000 in a week since they sent out a public plea on December 3.

It comes after the cancer support service reached the £10,000 mark in one day.

The self-funded charity has provided free emotional and practical support to anyone living with cancer in Hampshire, Dorset and Isle of Wight for 40 years.

After facing financial issues due to an increase in demand for their services, the charity said they needed to turn to the public as a "last resort" or risks having to close.

It has also been hit by a 65 percent reduction in people leaving a gift in their will and a decline in the high street, which has seen its shop sales fall by 15 percent.

A large gift has been delayed and taken together these factors have tipped the charity into a crisis situation.

While it costs £100,000 a month to run Wessex Cancer Trust, it is estimated there will be almost 165,000 people living with cancer, according to Public Health England.

CEO Cait Allen said the money raised makes them "more determined to keep services going".

She said: "Reaching almost £50k in just a week is wonderful and if we can keep this momentum going, we hope to be able to save the charity. What has been really moving and humbling is the feedback from people we have helped over the years.

"We have had people dropping in with gifts, sending heartfelt letters, and posting lovely comments on our Just Giving donations page and social media. It is a constant reminder of the impact the charity has on the local community and makes us ever more determined to keep our services going."