WORK has started in Hereford on the Hannah Tarplee Building, a landmark site which it is hoped will soon welcome some of the world’s leading childhood cancer specialists.

The Little Princess Trust acquired the plot in Berrington Street two years ago and has since gained planning permission to build its new headquarters there.

The charity, primarily known for providing wigs to young people who have lost their own hair during cancer treatment, currently rents office space on Broad Street.

Charity bosses say the short move will therefore fulfil a long-term ambition to put down roots in their home city.

Ledbury Reporter: Work got underway this week on, what will soon be, the charity's new headquarters. Photo: Little Princess TrustWork got underway this week on, what will soon be, the charity's new headquarters. Photo: Little Princess Trust

Work got underway this week on, what will soon be, the charity's new headquarters.

It will also help the charity to play a much more prominent role within the sphere of childhood cancer research as the new premises will have space to host conferences where many of the scientists funded by The Little Princess Trust will give presentations on their ground-breaking work.

Phil Brace, Chief Executive of The Little Princess Trust, said the new headquarters would really put the charity – and Hereford – on the map.

“Thanks to our amazing supporters, we are now one of the largest charity funders of childhood cancer research in the UK,” he added.

“This is a remarkable achievement but we want to go further by giving a space for the world’s best paediatric cancer specialists to tell audiences just what they are doing.”

The Little Princess Trust was founded in 2006 in memory of Hannah Tarplee. The five-year-old was a pupil at Hereford Cathedral Junior School when she was diagnosed with a Wilms Tumour.

Her parents struggled to find a wig suitable for her during treatment and felt the most fitting tribute to Hannah would be a charity dedicated to providing wigs to children who had lost their own hair to cancer and other illnesses.

The charity has since gone on to provide more than 10,000 wigs and has committed more than £7million to cancer research - and the name of the new LPT headquarters will offer a permanent reminder of the organisation’s roots.

The plans for the new site also include a salon, which will enable children to have wigs styled and fitted on site, and a wig-making facility within the building that will resurrect the greatly-diminished craft of wig-making in the UK.

CJ Bayliss, from Hereford, have been appointed as the contractors to lead the project following an independent tender managed by RRA Architects.

It is hoped the new building will welcome staff and host its first conferences by the autumn of this year.