Cancer fundraisers celebrate £1m milestone

MILESTONE ... John Pickering, chairman of the South Shields Support Group of Cancer research UK, and his wife Hazel. Below, the special plaque.
MILESTONE ... John Pickering, chairman of the South Shields Support Group of Cancer research UK, and his wife Hazel. Below, the special plaque.
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DEDICATED fundraisers from South Tyneside are celebrating a £1m milestone.

The South Shields Support Group of Cancer Research UK has raised the cash from events such as coffee mornings, quiz nights and raffles for decades and has been honoured for its efforts with a memorial plaque.

The plaque has been put on public display at the Northern Institute of Cancer Research, in Newcastle, to recognise 78 years of charitable effort by a small but enthusiastic group of fundraisers in the borough.

The institute houses a dedicated team of more than 200 clinicians and scientists, all working to beat the disease.

Members of the group were on hand to celebrate the achievement, including current chairman John Pickering and his wife Hazel.

The committee knows only too well the devastating impact cancer can have, and works tirelessly to raise money for vital research to find a cure.

Mr Pickering, who joined the group in May 1987, after losing his father to cancer, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic that we’ve been recognised.

“This is a great achievement for the group and shows the dedication to beating cancer.

“Our committee has worked really hard over the years and we’ve had a tremendous amount of support from the public.”

Mr Pickering has many fond memories of their fundraising adventures – particularly the success of dinner dances at the Hedworth Hall, in South Shields, which would welcome more than 200 guests each year.

He now runs the charity from his home in Central Avenue in Harton, South Shields.

Mr Pickering said: “The people of South Shields should be very proud of themselves. After all, it’s all of their kind donations which have enabled us to reach this milestone.”

Marissa Buckingham, local fundraising manger for Cancer Research UK, said: “The unveiling of this plaque is just a small token of appreciation for the years of hard work and dedication that this committee has put in to raising money for Cancer Research UK to fund lifesaving research.

“We are so grateful for their help in not only funding research, but raising awareness and helping to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

“One in three people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives.

“Thanks to the incredible progress that’s been made in the last 40 years, more people are surviving than ever before.

“But we can’t afford to stand still. We have the technology and the knowledge to conquer cancer. We just need the funds to turn it into real-life treatments.”

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IT’S been running for 78 years, but members of a South Tyneside cancer group want to ensure it reaches its 100th anniversary.

The South Shields Support Group of Cancer Research aims to reduce deaths caused by the disease and raise funds for research.

It was originally called The British Empire Cancer Campaign, before being renamed in 1970 as The Cancer Research Campaign.

In 2002, it merged with the Cancer Research Fund, which was established in 1902, and formed the present-day Cancer Research UK.

When Mr Pickering joined the group there were about 20 members, but now they’re down to five.

He said: “Unfortunately we’ve struggled to replenish the group with younger members, so as people have aged and their health has deteriorated, numbers have dwindled.

“But I am hoping that this will change – one of my aims is to form a junior committee.

“Perhaps we will be able to work with schools to get youngsters involved, and this will be something they can continue with into their adult lives.”

He added: “This group has been running for almost 80 years. We want to make sure it continues.”

Anyone wishing to offer their support to the South Shields Support Group or make a donation are invited to contact Mr Pickering on 456 7316.