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£17,500 tribute to the Royal United Hospital

Money totalling £35,000 raised in memory of Helen Straker was presented to Dorothy House Hospice and the The Forever Friends Appeal.

Mrs Straker, who died of cancer on September 7 aged 62, was the wife of Devizes estate agent and owner of the Bear Hotel, Gordon Straker.

Mrs Straker and her husband were prodigious fundraisers for Dorothy House and the RUH’s charitable fund after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2000.

The latest event, the Helen Straker Charity Gourmet Dinner at the Bear Hotel, raised £35,000 with the money split equally between Dorothy House and the RUH’s Buy a Brick for its new Cancer Care Centre.

Mrs Straker helped organise the dinner but sadly died before it was held on September 28.

The co-organisers Andrew Fleming, Nick Cordel and Ed Drewett helped Mr Straker make it a big success. It involved a gourmet dinner and an auction where the lots included a visit to a nuclear submarine in Scotland and a trip on the famed Orient Express.

Mr Straker said: “Helen would be staggered at the amount raised at the dinner. People who didn’t bid at the auction gave donations.”

“She always said she had done nothing in her life but she has done so much to help others.

“She always thought she was the wife of Gordon Straker and didn’t have an identity of her own, but I am the husband of Helen Straker.”

Mr Straker thought the amount raised by him and his wife is more than £50,000 over the years.

Jan Witt, donor care officer at the RUH’s Forever Friends Appeal, and Emily Knight, community fundraiser for Dorothy House, both said Mrs Straker was inspirational.

Mrs Witt said: “Helen has raised £25,000 for the new Cancer Care Centre at the Royal United Hospital.

“She has been a fantastic support to the Forever Friends Appeal.

“Unfortunately everyone knows someone affected by cancer and the new Cancer Centre should be built by 2017.

“We have raised just over £5.5million towards a target of £8.5million.”

Miss Knight added: “Helen did so much for Dorothy House and it’s amazing how much the dinner raised in her honour.

“It costs us £9,000 every day to run our services. We are so grateful.”

Picture © gazetteandherald.co.uk