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Mascots meet to launch Walk of Life sponsor

kier_logoWalkers, cyclists and passers-by on the Kennet and Avon canal on Wednesday had an unusual surprise.  Paying a visit to the Bathampton stretch of the canal was Forever Friends Appeal mascot Big Ted and his new friend, Kieran, the friendly Kier builder.  Big Ted and Kieran met up to announce Kier Construction as the proud new sponsor of The Forever Friends Appeal’s 2014 Walk of Life event.

This annual 21 mile walk along the Kennet and Avon canal from Devizes and Bath takes place every year in May and raises significant funds for Cancer Care at the RUH.  The date for 2014 is Saturday 17th May and people are being encouraged to sign up as soon as possible for any of the three distances, so they can kick start their training and fundraising.

This is the first year that Kier Construction have sponsored this event and they are looking forward to getting staff members involved with walking and marshaling along the 21 mile route. David Snell, Kier Construction Director commented: “We have been working with RUH for several years improving the built environment. Currently we are developing the design of the new Oncology facilities. The ‘Walk of Life’ event is a major focal point for fundraising at the hospital and we are very pleased to have been given the opportunity to be the sponsor”.

With the support of their new sponsor, The Forever Friends Appeal hope to exceed last year’s walker numbers, which reached a fantastic 225 people.  Walkers from all across the hospital catchment area, including Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire, have already started signing up to secure their place on the walk.  Many people are taking part with family and friends to celebrate the lives and memories of their loved ones.

One in three people are affected by cancer and everyday lives are changed by this disease.  The Forever Friends Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign is raising £8.5million towards the building of a pioneering new Cancer Centre.  This Cancer Centre will be a state of the art building, with every part designed around the needs of patients with different forms of cancer.  It will transform care for patients and their families at Bath’s Royal United Hospital.  Walk of Life sponsors, Kier Construction, are pleased to be working in partnership with the RUH Bath NHS Trust on the redevelopment of the hospital site.  

Corporate Officer for The Forever Friends Appeal, Jo Hones, comments:  “The Walk of Life is an incredible event which grows and grows each year.  Over £38k was raised last year for the new Cancer Centre, which is a truly amazing total and shows just how passionate and determined people are to help raise funds for this cause.  We are just thrilled to welcome on board our new sponsor, Kier Construction, and are looking forward to making 2014 our best Walk of Life yet! ” 

The Walk of Life started in 2008, having been created with and in memory of an inspirational lady called Vanessa Kyte, who passed away in 2007 having lived with cancer for seven years.  Vanessa raised over £100,000 for charity after her diagnosis, so her family and friends have continued with her fundraising drive and enthusiasm in order to raise as much as possible towards the new Cancer Centre for the hospital.

You can sign up to walk the full 21 mile challenge from Devizes Wharf to Sydney Gardens in Bath, 12 miles in the morning from Devizes to Bradford-On-Avon or 9 miles in the afternoon from Bradford-On-Avon to Bath.  Open to both men and women, entry to the 2014 Walk of Life is just £15.  The Appeal team is encouraging people to sign up early.

To enter the 2014 Walk of Life, proudly sponsored by Kier Construction, visit our Walk of Life page or call the events team on 01225 821535 for more information.

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Never not Knitting for Charity

Village ‘knitting clubs’ are never not knitting for charity. Men and women around the country are donating yarn balls, and knitting wondrous ‘winter warmers’ and knitted crafts to raise funds for worthy charitable causes.

Everything knitted has come back into fashion in recent years, everyone loves the knitted hearts to hang in the window, and the vintage-look scarf or cosy cardigans to keep warm. The quaint, beautiful Wiltshire village of Colerne, is a sociable, friendly community who have been busy getting their needles out for charity.  The Colerne Luncheon Club first started the craze in the village 6 years ago, when Age UK asked the social Club to knit the little woolen hats for Innocent Smoothies. Each year they knitted more and more, until 2012 they knitted over 2000. Innocent declared them the winners in Wiltshire and everyone celebrated with a Tea Party, with innocent smoothies for dessert.

After their ‘Innocent’ accomplishment, the group were lost for what they could then knit for. This is when the group decided to sell their knitted items to raise funds for the South-West charity; The Forever Friends Appeal at the RoyalUnitedHospital in Bath. The word spread across the village that The Forever Friends Appeal were raising £8.5 million towards a pioneering new Cancer Centre at the RUH. Everyone wanted to help and get involved, as many saw it as a local cause close to their hearts.

Over the past two years, ‘Colerne Knitters’ have raised over £2,000 for the RUH Cancer Care Campaign. This excellent amount will make a significant difference to the project, helping all those affected by cancer within the RUH catchment area of 500,000 people.

Supporters of the Appeal share the passion and vision with the Clinicians at RUH, that something needs to be done to transform cancer care for patients and their families. The current outdated facilities are over 70 years old and are in desperate need of being replaced with a state-of-the-art build, fit for purpose. The RUH plans to take a holistic approach to the build, creating a soothing and healing environment, that will give a warm welcome to patients, making them feel safe, supported and special throughout their treatment.

To find out more about the plans for the new Cancer Centre and to support the cause, visit our RUH Cancer Centre pages

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Newlook Windows and Perry Storage support The Bath City Community Day

Bath City are pleased to announce that more businesses are supporting their Community Day when fans can “Pay What They Want” against Chelmsford City on 22nd March. Ten percent of the money taken on the gate on the day is being donated to the Forever Friends Appeal linked to the building of the new Cancer Centre at the RUH.

Sarah Monelle of Newlook Windows, Wellsway, said that Newlook Windows were pleased to support the Community Day as the company has a long association with Bath City FC whilst John Perry of Perry Storage on Lansdown Lane, said that he is also keen to be involved and although he has only had links with the club for the past few months has found it a most welcoming place.

Both businesses will now a have a Be A Brick collection box in their premises helping to raise money for the new Cancer Centre at the RUH

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Running in memory – Craig’s Story

Former Bradford Town footballer Craig Guthrie will be fighting through the pain barrier to complete the Bath Half in memory of his late father next month.

The 33-year-old plumber suffered a knee injury two years ago which saw him temporarily give up playing, but that hasn’t stopped him entering the race.

He hopes to raise funds in tribute to his father Robert, who died aged 60 of throat cancer last year – on the day after Craig’s wedding to girlfriend Victoria.

Mr Guthrie, 33, said: “Dad was too weak to come to the wedding, and in the morning he was taken to hospital.

“I had a phone call during the course of the meal and they said to come to say goodbye, so I left the wedding and went to see him.

“I went to speak to him and said what I could. He couldn’t reply, but he wanted me to go back and enjoy the rest of the day. The next day I went back to the RUH and he passed away.”

He is now hoping to raise £400 for the RUH’s Forever Friends appeal for the new cancer unit.

“It was what my dad wanted,” he said. “He had been treated there, and the work they do is really special.”

He started training in October, after recovering from a ruptured posterior cruciate ligament, and is now back playing for Freshford United.

He said: “Training has been slow going, but my knee is slowly improving.

“Lots of people who knew dad have promised to support me.

“He was so well-known in Bradford, at the crematorium people couldn’t sit down it was so busy, which was such a tribute.”

Robert Guthrie had worked primarily in pubs in Bradford. He ran the Three Horseshoes and The Bear, and also worked in The Grapes before he died. He also worked on market stalls, and was a regular at The Plough on Trowbridge Road.

Mr Guthrie senior had two stepsons, Neil and Lee Smith, and his wife, Craig’s stepmum, Geraldine Guthrie.


To find out more about the Cancer Care Campaign to build a new Cancer Centre, or to make a donation visit our causes page.

If you already have an independent place in the Bath Half Marathon and want to join Craig by raising funds towards building a new Cancer Centre, you can join our team here

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Running for Tom!

Best friends of Tom Edwards, who went missing for five days before his body was found in Chippenham last summer, are running the Bath Half Marathon in his memory.

Jason King, from Chippenham, was due to run the half marathon with his close friend Tom Edwards for The Forever Friends Appeal at the Royal United Hospital, Bath to raise funds to help build a new Cancer Centre for the hospital.

Mr King comments: “Tom’s death was devastating for all of his friends and family. We were due to run the half marathon together so I thought it was only right to carry on and do it.”

He will be joined by three other close friends, Tom Wilmot, Will Walder and Michael Freegard who are all raising funds for The Forever Friends Appeal charity at the RUH. Mr King said: “We were very close. We went on holiday together and went out together all the time. We will all be thinking about Tom when we are running.”

Events & Community Officer for The Forever Friends Appeal, Jo Hones comments: “We are really touched that four of Tom’s closest friends have decided to run the Bath Half for The Forever Friends Appeal because Tom isn’t here to run it himself.”

Tom Edwards, 32, went missing after a night out in Swindon on June 28 and was found by the side of the railway line after a five-day search. Mr Edwards’ brother Will, who is also running the Bath Half Marathon with a group of about 20 gym users, will be raising money for the Wiltshire search and rescue charity WILSAR.

*Picture gazette and herald – Front, Jason King, Will Edwards, with his son Jude, three, and Ed Grace with the group from First Step Gym who are running in memory of Tom Edwards

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Domino’s Pizza support Bath City Community Day

Domino’s Pizza are pleased to announce that they are supporting Bath City’s Community Day on Saturday 22nd March by becoming one of a number of businesses and groups to sponsor the game when fans just “Pay What They Want” to watch the game. 10% of the money taken on the gate is being donated to the RUH Forever Friends Appeal which is raising money for the new Cancer Centre at the RUH.

Gary Coombes, manager of their London Road branch in Bath said,” We have a very good relationship with Bath City Football Club and are more than happy to support the Community Day initiative. We are also aware of the links that the club are trying to forge with the RUH and have decided to place a ‘Be a Brick’ collection box on our counter to help raise funds for the new Cancer Centre”

Find out more about Bath City Community Day.

More about ‘Be a Brick’ collection boxes.

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Mark’s story

35-year-old Mark Hucklebridge (Huck) has been a dominate figure in the Motocross industry for the last 20-years, as a rider and also a race organiser plus one of the top ACU trainers in the UK. In 2010 his life changed when he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, read his story here.

He started riding at the tender age of 10 after watching his Dad and Uncle Mike race he got the bug, a good bug for him to catch as he went on to have a very successful Motocross career. It saw him race for some of the UKs best teams – MJ Church Kawasaki, Factory VOR, TM UK, KTM UK, Honda UK, Motoxtreme Kawasaki, Chambers KTM and Hockey Honda, he became a very popular and well liked rider within the racing community.

His list of his Motocross achievements are below

  • British School Boy Champion 1994
  • Winner Coupe de l’Avenir
  • Winner Patchquick Trophy
  • Winner Ken Hall Trophy
  • Winner Weston Beach Race 1998 (youngest ever winner at the time)
  • Winner Weston Beach Race 2000
  • British SX Champion 2001
  • Won First British Championship Race 2002
  • Winner First Round British SX Round 2002
  • Winner First British Championship Round 2003
  • KWS Champion 2003
  • Third Overall British Championship 2003
  • 18th World Championship overall 2003
  • KWS Champion 2004
  • Winner British SX Championship 2005
  • UK Flood Lit SX Champion 2006
  • KWS Champion 2008

Huck retired from professional racing at the end of 2008 and in 2009 he was offered a great opportunity by the ACU. One door shut and another opened, Roy Barton who at the time worked with the ACU offered Huck the opportunity to work with the ACU training and developing young Motocross riders. In 2009 Huck had a fantastic year and the three trained riders Josh Waterman, Ryan Houghton and Ben Watson – won every group in the British Youth Championship that season, all three riders have gone on to further their career in Motocross with the skills and knowledge taught to them by Huck.

In the process Mark and his wife Emma set up the now very established Hucklebridge Events to teach the Academy riders, run their own events and also a practice track near their home in Marshfield.

Mark gained his NVQ teaching course of excellence working with the MSA (Motor Sports Association) at Loughborough University; this enabled him to teach young riders the art of becoming professional on and off the track and was fully funded by the government. Mark set up structured training for the track and a curriculum was written for every MX technique.

Hucklebridge Events with their club (Moredon) now successfully run the UK Girls Nationals in September and have done so for the last five years. On the 8th and 9th March this year they will run a special memorial race for Chris Tucker who was the director of Moredon MX Club which Huck and Emma run. Chris sadly passed away in 2013 after a very short illness.

Further to their events for the last eight years, Huck and Emma also run Circuit Training fitness classes, it was originally set up for just MX riders but now people from all aspects of life attend these sessions and are put through their paces by the Hucklebridge pairing! Each week between 25 – 30 people are tested to the limit, with 55 people coming through the classes so far this year (Feb 2014).

Emma (34) and Mark (35) have been a couple since 1998, they eventually tied the knot in 2006 and their son Charlie was born in 2007. Nothing stops in their family and they are continuously on the move and working hard to achieve their goals and targets.

In 2010 their lives took a drastic turn, Mark had experienced slight bleeding whilst going to the toilet. He sought medical advice and after a number of tests and scans he was diagnosed with stage 4 (spread beyond the original tumour) bowel cancer, a huge blow for the Hucklebridge family.

He was told that the tumour in his bowel had been in place for between 5-10 years and had also now spread via the lymph nodes into his lungs.

Just before Christmas in 2010 Huck started his first dose of Chemotherapy which was given to him via a Hickman line which went straight into a vein near his heart. It was an extremely difficult Christmas for the family as Emma was struck down with swine-flu and Charlie was sent to stay with relatives so he did not get poorly and Mark went to stay with other family. The family were able to see each other for only an hour on Christmas Day with Mark having to wear a hospital face mask to ensure he did not pick anything up, as his immune system was weak due to the intense course of Chemo he was receiving.

After three months of Chemo, Mark endured five weeks of intense radiotherapy with more chemo to shrink the tumours. This was carried out every day at his local hospital, the RUH in Bath. After a short break, just six weeks Mark had his first major operation in June 2011 to remove the tumour in his bowel. Over a foot of the large bowel was removed and he was left with a colonoscopy bag for a while.

Mark then had to go through three more months of chemo and then the doctors reversed his colonoscopy. In May 2012 he went in for surgery again for another major operation where the middle lobe, around a 1/3 of his right lung was removed.

In the September of that year he was back in again for yet more surgery, this time to remove a quarter of his liver after routine tests showed a tumour was present there. As a family at that stage they really believed that Mark had beaten the cancer and that he was on his way to a full recovery.

He went for three routine blood tests over a period of nine months and his blood levels began to drop and everything was looking very hopeful. In January 2014 the blood test increased rapidly showing that the cancer had returned and had been growing at a fast rate for the past three months.

The most recent scans showed that Mark has nine metastasis (small tumours) spread between both lungs which has now made his cancer inoperable/terminal. He also has an inflamed area in the lymph node in his groin, very close to the original tumour site, this is also inoperable.

The future for Mark will include further more tests and scans to monitor the tumours as well as palliative chemo (used to shrink tumours), which will start the first week in March and will continue for the rest of his life, no one knows how long this may be but hopefully a few years yet.

Mark is determined to fight and hold back the cancer as long as possible and enjoy every minute with his family and friends. Mark wishes to say to anyone that might be slightly worried about anything to go and get checked out. If you are still not happy ask for a second opinion as it is easier to treat the earlier you can catch it.

Before Mark starts his next batch of intense Chemo, him and Emma will be competing in the Bath Half Marathon to raise money for The Forever Friends Appeal to help build a new Cancer Centre. You can support them here – https://www.justgiving.com/Emma-Hucklebridge1

*Written by Carly Rathmell

To find out more about the Cancer Care Campaign to build a new Cancer Centre, or to make a donation visit our causes page.

If you already have an independent place in the Bath Half Marathon and want to join Mark and Emma by raising funds towards building a new Cancer Centre, you can join our team here

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Excalibur committed to raising £50k

Throughout 2014, Excalibur Communications, Swindon-based business mobile, IT & landline providers have committed to raising £50,000 for The Forever Friends Appeal which will make them a Principal Corporate Partner.

They will be providing the funds required to fit out the teenage cancer area at RUH and will be offering a £25,000 donation with the remaining £25,000 to be raised throughout the year. Excalibur will be backed by their staff, customers, partners and the team at RUH in a bid to reach their target. £5500 has already been raised for the campaign so they are off to a great start for the New Year and are raring to go with several events planned throughout the year, one of which may even break a world record so watch this space!

Excalibur’s CEO James Phipps first came into contact with the RUH team at Bath Racecourse in July last year when they were sponsoring a business race day. James commented; “The Forever Friends Appeal was something we very much wanted to get involved with. The new cancer centre will benefit so many people all over the South West and the teenage area was an ideal project for Excalibur as they’ll be using lots of the technology we provide. Currently the teenagers are cared for in the children’s ward and they really need their own area specifically tailored to them so they don’t feel isolated, especially given the treatment they’ll be going through. We’re very committed to our challenge and are looking forward to achieving our goal.”

Corporate Officer for The Forever Friends Appeal, Jo Hones, comments:  “We are so delighted to have Excalibur on board with our fundraising Campaign.  Not only are they donating £25,000 to the new Cancer Centre, but they are also aiming to match fund this amount through a year fundraising in order to raise a total of £50,000!   What an incredible goal and we are absolutely over the moon with their support.

With this wonderful donation we will be a big step closer to achieving our fundraising goal of raising £8.5million towards the building of a pioneering new Cancer Centre that will benefit hundreds and thousands of patients and their families.  This new Centre will provide a highly beneficial healing environment that is centred on patient care and experience, reducing stress and anxiety, and promoting health.  

The Excalibur team have many exciting plans to hit their £50,000 target and we are really looking forward to working with them throughout 2014 to make it a truly memorable year of fundraising!”

To find out more about what Excalibur are planning for their fundraising activities throughout 2014, visit www.ex-c.co.uk. If your company is interested in the Corporate Partner, like Excalibur then visit our Corporate Partnership page.

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Introducing Arbonne

Look good and feel great with an un-paralled range of botanically based products health and wellness products – 20% of retail sales donated to The Forever Friends Appeal.

Blogged by Vogue, in the gifting suite at the Oscars but not available through traditional retail – Arbonne’s ultra-premium range of Swiss formulated products represents the ultimate in skincare and nutrition. Arbonne skincare products offer a pure approach to your beauty routine, and are clinically proven to be the best you can buy, they contain No parabens, No mineral oils, are PH correct, dermatologist tested and vegan certified.

Forever Friends supporter and Arbonne Independent Consultant Kiz Davis is donating 20% of the retail value of all orders through her website www.kizdavis.myarbonne.co.uk to The Forever Friends Appeal.  So start buying superior products today and support the charity as you buy!

Jo Hones, Corporate Officer for The Forever Friends Appeal comments:  “We were thrilled when Kiz approached us with her idea to donate to the Appeal through the sale of her health and wellness products. It is a fabulous way of fundraising for charity – thank you Kiz!”

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Shane’s Static Bike Challenge for Cancer Care

Local woman Shane Ibbitson from Frome, is a dedicated supporter of The Forever Friends Appeal, regularly giving her time to promote the RUH Cancer Care Campaign and help raise vital funds. She lives with a serious joint disease Degenerative Osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, a long-term condition which causes pain all over her body and has regular treatment and physiotherapy at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. Despite her joint problems and pain she carries on in the most positive way. Shane will be taking on a personal challenge to cycle 12 kilometers on a static bike at Frome Leisure Centre on Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th February at 11am, to help raise funds for the new Cancer Centre.

Shane comments: I chose to support this great campaign because I really wanted to say thank you to the staff at the RUH for being there for me over the years. After seeing the current cancer facilities, I felt that it was definitely in need of a change and I want to help all who use these services as well as those who may need them in the future.”

The Forever Friends Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign aims to raise a minimum of £8.5 million towards the build of an exceptional new Cancer Centre at the RUH in Bath. This wonderful new Centre will take a holistic approach that balances clinical expertise with a truly therapeutic and healing environment. Designed around the patient journey, this Centre will transform care for patients and their families.

Laura Pearce, Events Fundraiser at The Forever Friends Appeal says: “Shane is an absolutely incredible person and her determination to take on physical challenges to support the campaign is truly inspiring. With the RUH treating thousands of patients from all over Bath, and surrounding towns and villages in Somerset and Wiltshire including Frome, the Cancer Care Campaign is close to the hearts of so many. Please come along to Frome Leisure Centre on the 26th and 27th February at 11am to cheer Shane on!”

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