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News

Tribute fund in memory of tragic Devizes hairdresser Kelly

Family of Devizes hairdresser Kelly Ross, who died from cancer aged just 32, have set up a tribute fund in her memory to raise money for the hospital where she was treated.

Mrs Ross always thought she would recover from her illness and pledged to raise money for the Forever Friends Appeal at the Royal United Hospital.

But despite her optimism the mum of two young children died in July. Now her family want to raise money for the appeal for The Forever Friends Appeal which is raising £8.5 million towards the £23.5 million needed for the new RUH Cancer Centre.

Her brother Mike Wesley said: “Kelly always spoke about raising money for the appeal. She really did think she would get better. She was such an optimistic person she always looked on the bright side of things.

“Now we want to raise money in her memory.”

Mrs Ross worked at Kadiem salon with her brother and sister Dawn and they are using the tenth anniversary of the opening of the family business on December 10 to boost the appeal.

The salon will be raffling a pair of GHD hair straighteners worth £130. Tickets are now on sale for £1 each.

Mr Wesley said: “Kelly was such a bright, warm hearted, caring girl. Nothing was ever too much trouble and would gladly make time for us all.

“Raising funds funds in someone’s name will sadly not bring them back, but what it will do is inspire each and every one of us to do something amazing to honour those we have lost and make a difference for the future.

“The Kelly Ross tribute fund has been set up to commemorate and pay tribute to Kelly’s life and give each of us the chance to have an involvement in shaping the future of cancer care. All proceeds from Kelly’s fund will be going direct to the Forever Friends appeal.

“The new unit, believed to be the best cancer centre for a district general hospital in the UK, will be a state of the art building, taking a holistic approach that is designed to produce a highly beneficial healing environment for patients and their families. It is planned for the cancer centre to be fully operational by 2018, but significant elements will be commissioned and completed in advance of this date.”

People in Devizes have already started to do their bit to back the appeal. Townsend Barn Nursery at Poulshot raised £360.50 from a Christmas shopping night and family friend Craig Townsend raised £2,047 by taking part in a sponsored bike ride.

If you are interested in setting up a Tribute Fund then please visit our Tribute Fund Page.

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Firm Helps Raise £8500 For RUH Charity Appeal

A local firm has raised £8,500 towards The Forever Friends Appeal’s first ever RUH Will Month initiative. Solicitors Thatcher & Hallam LLP were one of 13 law practices that participated in the scheme across the RUH Catchment area. During the month of September, solicitors and their clients agreed that any fee normally payable direct to the lawyers for the drafting of the Will should instead be paid over to the well known RUH charity.

George Persson is a Partner at Thatcher & Hallam LLP and also heads their Wills Probate & Tax Planning team.

‘Everyone here in Midsomer Norton knows the RUH extremely well and it was a privilege to be given the opportunity to contribute something towards patient care at the hospital,’ says George. ‘However, the real thanks must go to what must be the many hundreds of people throughout the catchment area who had no hesitation in immediately supporting the charity. This no doubt simply reflects the genuine regard and affection that people have for the RUH.’

Jan Witt is the Legacy & In Memory Officer for The Forever Friends Appeal.

‘We are absolutely thrilled that Thatcher & Hallam LLP agreed to be one of the participating solicitors across the RUH Catchment area, to come on board and support our first ever RUH Will Month fundraising initiative,’ says Jan. ‘I would like to say a very big ‘thank you’ to George and his legal team at Thatcher & Hallam, for giving their time for free to draw up Wills and also to their clients for helping to raise a fantastic £7,450 which will go towards the care and treatment of patients at the RUH-thank you!’

The total amount raised for the Appeal by the Will Month initiative will be announced by the RUH later this month.

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Join one of these great events coming soon

The Forever Friends Appeal runs various different events throughout the year, as well as promoting events run by others. Whichever you choose, by raising sponsorship you will be making a real difference at the RUH.

Just browse our events section where you will find runningwalking,challengecycling and community events – there is something for everyone!

Why not join one of the largest charity teams at the Bath Half 2016, face your fears with our Firewalk 2016 or help celebrate 10 years of of our annual Walk of Life. Click the images to find out more about each event.

Bath Half Marathon 2016  Firewalk 2016  Walk of Life 2016

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Win a Car in the Annual Christmas Raffle

The Forever Friends Appeal are very excited to announce that they have once again secured a brand New Car as the top prize in their annual Grand Draw which runs until 11th December and is helping raise funds for their RUH Cancer Care Campaign.

The Grand Draw, launched this week will give everyone the chance to win an Economical Kia Picanto 5 door car just in time for Christmas!, This super little car benefits from KIA’s pioneering 7 year warranty as well as £0 Road Fund Licence, group 2 insurance and up to 78.5 mpg. Making it practical, fun and extremely easy on the pocket to own and has for the third year running been generously provided by Allen KIA Bath.

The Appeal hopes that with the amazing top prize of a brand new car, and some great runner up prizes including a three night break for two, Carrera Valour Road Racing Bike, a Dyson Animal vacuum and many more will inspire the public to get on board and help equal last years £20,000.

Allen Kia Motors of Bath, which supplied the vehicle is also supporting the hospital’s charity by selling raffle tickets to their customers, and has even provided a loan car which has been branded out in bright graphics, with the slogan “Win Me!” with the aim of capturing the attention of the public to help promote the Grand Draw and the Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign.

Andrew Muffett, Kia Brand Manager from Allen Kia says: “We are very proud to be supporting The Forever Friends Charity again this year. This charity works tirelessly for a cause which everyone can relate to in some form or another. If our help and assistance is able to play even just a small part in raising money then it would be well worth it. We wish them all success over the next few weeks with their Grand Draw”.

Jake Banks, Finance Assistant for The Forever Friends Appeal says: “We are absolutely thrilled to have Allen Kia Motors kindly providing us with a car for a third year running, having built up a fantastic relationship with Andrew. The company really understands the difference having such a great 1st prize means to the charity in helping raise such a massive amount each year, we really can’t thank them enough. Taking part in the raffle is a fun and important way for us to seek the public’s support and help transform the care of patients and their families affected by Cancer. The loan of a car will help us tremendously and it will be visiting a number of shows and attending events in the local area over the next month or so to help sell tickets during the lead up to the draw date Friday 11th December 2015.”

Jake continues: “This year our supporters will notice one rather large change to the raffle, as our magnificent Volunteers Ron and Sue Tully have taken over the day to day running of the raffle table in the Atrium of the RUH after ‘Young’ Bill Viles sadly passed away earlier in the year.”

If you wish to purchase tickets at £1.00 each or £5.00 for a book or happy to sell them on behalf of the charity to your friends, family or colleague please our Raffle page or give The Forever Friends Appeal a ring on 01225 825961.

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India trekkers home with £30,000 for Cancer Care

Seventeen inspirational fundraisers have returned home from a challenging five day charity trek through the fascinating region of North India at the heart of the Himalaya’s, the world’s highest mountain range. The overseas adventure wasn’t just about facing tough terrain, they had plenty thrown at them from start to finish including experiencing an overnight Indian sleeper train, snow, thunder and lightning storms and really went back to basics at camp. Between them, the team has raised an amazing combined total surpassing £30,000 towards the The Forever Friends Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign – which is fundraising for a world class new Centre at the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

The trekking team, of which four are staff at the Hospital, included: Gisela Barcat-Angelelli, Katrina Bride, Becky Brooks, Diana Dixon, Christina Ferreira, Lindsey Hobbs, Ines Martins, Ashley Nesbitt, Victoria Owen, Helen Pyne, Fiona Ryall, Sandra Sach, Debbie Saffin, Surrinder Sandham-Bains, Tim Shire, Frankie Simpkins and Kirsty Thompson.

Each of the seventeen trekkers have their own personal reasons and stories for taking part, but all had one thing in common – a dedication to support their local hospital and help transform cancer services for the future. They arrived at the start as strangers but by the end of the very first day friendships were already forming, with plenty of comradery, jokes and an understanding of each other’s personal journeys.

The team began the challenge in Dehli, jumping straight in and getting out of their comfort zones with the first of many adventures….almost missing their sleeper train because of Delhi’s infamous colorful and chaotic traffic! Having travelled five miles in two and a half hours in the coach the group decided to get out and make a run for the last mile to the station on foot. With seven minutes to spare, they boarded the sleeper train for a 10 hour journey to Pathankot and then straight onto Dharamsala – home to the Dalai Lama and the start and finish point of the five day trek that lay ahead.

Trekking up to eight hours a day the group faced many ascents and descents, river and suspension bridge crossings through pine forests and up to a glacial field. When the going got tough, musician in residence at the RUH Frankie Simpkins, boosted morale with impromptu sing-a-longs to keep spirits high. They were also able to immerse themselves in much of the traditional culture, passing through charming villages warmly greeted by the locals, Hindu settlements and Buddhist Monasteries all with the stunning backdrop of the Himalayan Mountains. After a hard days trekking, the cold nights were spent in two man tents nights, and at the highest point, spent two nights at 3,000m at -5 degrees at Triund camp set on an alpine meadow. One morning, after the best thunder and lightning storm one could hope to experience, they were greeted by a thick layer of snow. The child in everyone soon came out!

Upon their return to Dharmsala, signifying the end of the trek, a couple of the trekkers then made an impromptu trip to the local infant school to give a small gift, their way of giving back to a community that welcomed them so warmly… and teach them ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes!’ After another long eight hour journey, the end of the challenge was celebrated with a visit to the magical Taj Mahal.

For each member of the team, the trek has been a personal and life changing journey which has brought with it new experiences and friendships in a truly united effort for Cancer Care at the RUH.

Katrina Bride, one member of the team from Melksham, explains her personal journey:

“This has been a most fulfilling experience.  Pulling out all the stops you have (plus some you never knew you had) to raise money for a life-saving and life-enhancing service has been exhilarating.  It’s a win-win situation.  On one side of the winning coin is the personal achievement.  I have enjoyed the creative opportunities presented by fundraising and the social side of involving my friends.  I have enjoyed the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual challenges of the trek and particularly the sense of achievement at having completed it. I have also enjoyed the camaraderie of being part of a team which pulled together – all ages and levels of ability, we encouraged, cajoled and teased each other through it.  The flip side of the winning coin is that the RUH gets that little bit nearer to building its much-needed cancer centre.”

The RUH Cancer Care Campaign is raising £8.5 million towards a pioneering Cancer Centre at The Royal United Hospital in Bath. This new Centre will transform the care for patients and their families affected by this life changing diagnosis. The hospital is planning on replacing its outdated 1940s cancer facilities, with a world class new Centre that is truly fit for purpose that will bring treatment ‘under one roof’. To date the campaign has raised £6.9 million and its with the support of the public and incredible fundraisers like the India trekkers, that will help raise the final £1.6 million.

Laura Pearce, Events Fundraiser for the Appeal comments: “We are so proud of all our India trekkers for completing this challenge…they really are a truly inspirational group of people. In the many months leading up to departure, each trekker worked extremely hard to raise vital funds for RUH patients. From cake sales, dance evenings, cream tea afternoons to fancy dress half marathons and a very apt Indian elephant naming game, the trek had already led the group to some amazing fundraising achievements before they even set foot in India! They’ve created memories and friendships that will last a lifetime, with the knowledge that with every step taken had been one step closer to a pioneering Cancer Centre at the RUH. Thank you so much for all your hard work and dedication and to all those who supported and donated along the way. What a journey!”

With the success of the India Trek, the Forever Friends Appeal are now looking for another group of adventurous fundraisers to take part in Trek Cambodia 2016 – a 95km trek to the top of the sacred Kulen Mountain and to explore the jewel in Cambodia’s crown, Angkor Wat. An Information Evening will be held at the Hospital on Thursday 28th January with talks from the Global Adventure Challenge trek leader, the fundraising team, plus a tour of the current Oncology facilities and you’ll get a chance to hear from the India trekkers about some of their expiences. To book your place or to find out more, please visit or Cambodia Trek page or give Laura a call on 01225 821535.

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Forever Friends Appeal walk celebrates a decade of support

The Forever Friends Appeal’s “Walk of Life” is about to celebrate a milestone 10 year anniversary – and staff and supporters at the Appeal couldn’t be more grateful for all of the support they have received over the years.

The Walk of Life, proudly sponsored by Kier Construction, is an annual event that challenges men and women across Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire to walk 21 miles along the Kennet and Avon canal between Devizes and Bath; walkers can choose to raise funds for the RUH Cancer Care Campaign, or a ward or department of their choice at Bath’s Royal United Hospital.

The walk was created in 2008 in memory of Vanessa Kyte (pictured with Dianne Young and Nicola Noble) – a remarkably inspirational mum, daughter, sister, wife and friend who was diagnosed with cancer in the year 2000. Seven years on, Vanessa passed away at her home in Rudge with her family around her and this weekend will see the eighth anniversary of Vanessa’s death.

Vanessa’s sister Nic Noble comments: “It was 10 years ago when my sister Ness and I first approached Nina Rack, the former Corporate Officer at the Appeal, with an idea to hold a fundraising walk around the RUH’s catchment area to raise money for a new Cancer Centre at the hospital.”

The walk started off as “March Miles” which would soon become known as the “Walk of Life”, a 21 mile walk taking place along the Kennet & Avon canal, starting from Devizes and ending in Bath. Before Vanessa passed away in 2007, she had managed to raise an incredible £100,000 for the RUH Cancer Care Campaign. Since 2007 the Walk of Life has continued to go from strength to strength, with more walkers joining the walk every year.

The Appeal are now excited to announce that the 10th annual Walk of Life will take place on Saturday 14th May 2016. The Walk of Life 2015 is a positive walk to celebrate life, and sets off from Devizes Wharf, heads along the Kennet and Avon canal through Bradford-On-Avon and finishes just off the canal pathway in Sydney Gardens, Bath. Walkers can choose to walk 9, 12 or 21 miles and are encouraged to raise sponsorship to go towards a pioneering new Cancer Centre.

Nic continues: “Never in my wildest dreams did we imagine the walk would be so successful. Since 2006 the Walk of Life has managed to raise over £255,000 for the RUH Cancer Care Campaign as well as other wards and departments at the RUH. So please join us on Saturday 14th May 2016 in a walk that has become a legacy to my beautiful strong sister, Nessa”.

One in two people are now 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 the RUH.

Over 300 people took part in this year’s 2015 Walk of Life, some to celebrate the memory of lost loved ones, others to fundraise in support of friends or family members who are being treated at the RUH. Many were brave enough to take on the full 21 mile challenge, whilst others chose to walk 12 miles in the morning from Devizes to Bradford-On-Avon or 9 miles in the afternoon from Bradford-On-Avon to Bath. The 2015 Walk of Life was a huge success, raising over £30,000 for both the RUH Cancer Care Campaign and other wards and departments at the hospital.

2016 will be the third year that construction company, Kier, has sponsored this popular annual event. Kier is working in partnership with the RUH Bath NHS Trust on the redevelopment of the hospital site.

Kier director, David Snell said: “I personally enjoyed the 21 mile walk earlier this year and I’m really looking forward to next year’s walk. Our staff are determined to raise even more for Forever Friends in 2016.”

Open to both men and women, people are now being encouraged to sign up early for 2016 so they can start kick start their training and fundraising. Early bird registrations are now open for the 2016 Walk of Life at a discounted price of £15 per place when you sign up online via The Forever Friends website before 31st January 2016.

Events & Community Officer for The Forever Friends Appeal, Emily Lynch comments: “Over the last 10 years, the Appeal have been overwhelmed by the growing support for the Walk of Life, we are thrilled that the event has managed to raise over £255,000 for the RUH. Looking ahead to next year’s we are thrilled to once again be working with the incredible team at Kier Construction; we will be working with them on exciting plans to improve the overall event experience for our walkers. We hope that as many people as possible will take advantage of our early bird online registrations between now and January, to help us boost the Walk of Life’s overall total to over £300,000 as a tribute to Vanessa. To sign up to help transform care for patients and their families at the RUH, simply visit: www.foreverfriendsappeal.co.uk”

Volunteer marshals are located on various locations along the Walk of Life route – handing out water, refreshments and encouragement. Please contact the Appeal if you would like to volunteer your time to help marshal at the event. To sign up for the 2016 Walk of Life online visit our Walk of Life page or call the events team on 01225 825823 for more information.

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Bath Half Marathon 2015 raised record amount for charity

This year’s Bath Half Marathon raised a record amount for charity with The Forever Friends Appeal team raising £32,000.

Marathon organisers Running High Events have announced that the 2015 Vitality Bath Half Marathon raised over £2.1 million, maintaining the event’s position as the largest single day charity fundraising running event in the South West.

Charity marathon runners raised an average of £454 per person, the second highest average amount for any road race in the UK alongside the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon in London, and after the Virgin Money London Marathon.

Just under 40 per cent of participants at this year’s race raised money for charity, with some 32 per cent of charity runners fundraising for local charities within Bath and north east Somerset.

Mel Taylor, charity and creative director and co-founder of Running High Events, said: “For a city the size of Bath, it is an impressive achievement to be able to maintain our fundraising position in the top three road races in the UK, and we would like to thank everyone who keeps supporting the Bath Half and our amazing charities.

“We know that our record fundraising figures are down to a combination of factors. The race sells out each year and gives charities 3-4 months to sell their entries after general public places are sold out. The race is one of most popular in the UK and we’ve been working with some of our local charity partners since we took over management of the race in 2000.

“We are looking forward to working with the official charities in the lead up to the 2016 race and to providing a great fundraising platform for charities of all sizes. With a record number of charity places reserved for 2016 we are confident that this year’s figures can be surpassed again.”

Macmillan Cancer Support is the Lead Charity, with The Forever Friends Appeal, Time is Precious, Bath Rugby Foundation and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation confirmed as featured charities for next year’s Vitality Bath Half Marathon.

If you would like to run for the Royal United Hospital in the 2016 Bath Half Marathon visit our Bath Half page and make a real difference to patients and families.

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Face the flames for The Forever Friends Appeal

Are you brave enough to walk barefoot over red hot embers smoldering at over 1000 degree Fahrenheit? The Forever Friends Appeal are currently looking for people to take part in the challenge of a lifetime – a Firewalk taking place on Sunday 20th March 2016 at 6pm at Bath’s Lansdown Cricket Club.

The Firewalk is being organized in association with Time4Change and its founder Cliff Mann, the most experienced firewalking instructor in Europe. The entry fee for the event is £30 and all participants are expected to raise a minimum of £100 in sponsorship towards the RUH Cancer Care Campaign, or a ward or department of their choice at the hospital. The Forever Friends Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign is currently over half way to achieving its aim of raising £8.5 million, which will contribute vital funds to the building of a pioneering new Cancer Centre for the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

Events & Community Officer at the Appeal, Emily Lynch says: “Taking part in a Firewalk is an incredible way to challenge yourself, increase your confidence and overcome your fears while making a real difference at the Royal United Hospital. Last year’s Firewalk raised over £6,000 for the RUH Cancer Campaign, as well as other wards and departments at the hospital. Back by popular demand, this is the second year that the Appeal has organized a Firewalk and as such, we’re encouraging all of our supporters to face their fears and raise money to help us transform care for patients and their families at the RUH”.

Places are limited and online entries are now open! To sign up online today and make a real difference to patients and their families at the RUH, please visit our Firewalk page or contact Laura Pearce on 01225 821535.

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Local Orchestra help Build a New Cancer Centre at the RUH

On Saturday 7th November, Cameo Orchestra will be holding a charity concert at St Michaels Without Church in Bath to raise funds for The Forever Friends Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign. Cameo is an amateur orchestra based in Bristol, with over 40 active members drawn from a twenty mile radius of their base in Warmley. The concert is set to be a magical evening of inspiring music ranging from light classics to show pieces, and will also star the fabulous mezzo soprano, Molly Cheesly.

Cameo have chosen to support The Forever Friends Appeal with their RUH Cancer Care Campaign, raising funds towards the build of a pioneering new Cancer Centre at the RUH, following the recent treatment of their conductor, Andrew Foister, at the hospital. Andrew was admitted to the RUH on 5th January 2015, and was diagnosed the following day with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stage IVb. Andrew spent three days in hospital and a couple of weeks later started a course of chemotherapy.  This involved three one day visits to the William Budd Ward as an outpatient, alternating with three two night stays in the ward as an inpatient, culminating in a three week stay for high dose chemotherapy in July.

Andrew states, ‘The care I received in the William Budd Ward was amazing and cannot be faulted. However, the facilities are somewhat dated and in need of a spruce up. The planned new Cancer Unit will solve all these problems, enable more patients to receive treatment and make the job of the staff so much easier. The concert that Cameo is putting on at St Michael’s Without is to raise funds towards building the new unit, and hopefully enabling it to open as soon as possible.’

On Tuesday 20th October, Community Fundraiser at The Appeal, Lydia McGivern, and the infamous Big Ted were lucky enough to visit Cameo Orchestra at one of their rehearsals to hear a preview of the upcoming concert. Lydia comments, ‘Cameo Orchestra are a truly fantastic group and it was wonderful to hear some of the songs they will be playing at the concert. We are so grateful for their support which will help us to build the incredible new Cancer Centre at the RUH. It’s also not every day you get to see Big Ted dancing to the Thunderbirds theme tune being played by a full orchestra!’

For more information about Cameo Orchestra and tickets to their concert at St Michael’s Without Church on 7th November, please email the Orchestra’s chairperson, Rob Tyley, on robtyley@btinternet.com. The concert will start at 7.30pm and tickets are priced at £8 for adults, £5 for concessions and free for children.

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Community Group becomes Community Partner

On Thursday 22nd October the Your Local RUH Cancer Care Fundraising Group, based across Chippenham, Melksham and Calne, visited the Royal United Hospital to receive a Community Partner Award from The Forever Friends Appeal. This award has been given to this community group for raising a phenomenal £10,000 towards The Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign. This impressive donation will help fund the build of a pioneering new Cancer Centre at the RUH, and will help to transform cancer care for thousands of local people and their families.

The group is the oldest of The Forever Friends Appeal’s treasured Community Groups, having been set up in November 2012. The members of the group are all volunteers who have been affected by cancer in their own lives, and want to do something positive to help those around them dealing with the same situation.

The Your Local Group has organized a multitude of fundraising activities over the last couple of years to raise funds towards this incredible donation. Many events have taken place including coffee mornings, wine tasting evenings, race nights, quizzes, bucket collections, garden parties and afternoon tea jazz events.  They are present at many local events such as Chippenham Folk Festival, Melksham Food and River Festival, and Melksham Town Christmas Lights Switch on.

The group will also be publishing their own Recipe Book in the next few weeks.  This is a collection of recipes from local people, handed down through friends and families. It will be on sale just in time for Christmas shopping!

Improving facilities for cancer care is a cause close to all of the group members’ hearts, and they will continue to do all that they can to help those affected by the disease in the future.

Secretary of the group, Bev Viveash, became involved through her daughter Nic.  Whilst Nic was having treatment for cancer at the RUH they both became aware of the campaign to raise money for the new Cancer unit, and planned a coffee morning to help raise funds.  During her treatment Nic began organising and planning what turned into a full day garden party and was thrilled to raise over £1,700! Sadly Nic passed away a few months after this, aged just 28 years old, but always encouraged her mum to continue with the fundraising to enable other patients to have better surroundings for their treatment.

Bev says ‘The team and the care Nic received in the cancer unit was fantastic but the facilities desperately need updating.   Space for patients to be told the devastating news they have cancer, space for their family, private areas for when it’s needed’.

As the group goes from success to success, they need more members to help them plan and carry out their amazing fundraising work. If you would be interested in getting involved with this friendly enthusiastic group, please call Lydia McGivern, Community Fundraiser at The Forever Friends Appeal, on 01225 825825.

Lydia comments, ‘The Your Local Group are a truly inspiration group of local people. They do everything they can to help raise funds for the new Cancer Centre, and have a lot of fun doing so! I always look forward to their meetings and wonderful events and can’t wait to see what amazing things they achieve next!’

‘I would encourage anyone to get in touch and come along to a meeting, not only will you be helping a very worthwhile local cause, but you will make some wonderful friends along the way.’

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