2010

50,000 not out!

It is always a joy to be able to thank so many supporters for their fund raising efforts and to read all about their events. So I would like to share with you a selection of recent events which may inspire you to consider organising a CANCERactive fund raising activity in 2010.

On June 10th CANCERactive held a fundraising dinner at Lord’s Cricket ground in London with a very special guest, cricketing legend Geoffrey Boycott.

Geoffrey wanted to contribute to the charity in gratitude for the help Chris Woollams gave him when he was dealing with his cancer on the back of his tongue. He rarely speaks at events like this, so for the charity it was a real privilege to have him there.

From the very start of the evening, with guests arriving for the champagne reception to the very last moment when carriages were waiting, the atmosphere at the event was buzzing. There was that happy hubbub of a group of people who really seemed to be having a wonderful time.

The evening was held in the glorious Long Room at Lord’s, which overlooks the pitch and terraces and features many portraits of famous cricketers who have played there over the years. The venue was donated at cost by another person Chris helped, CEO of England cricket, Keith Bradshaw. But before the dinner began, guests - all dressed beautifully in black tie and evening dress - gathered for champagne on the terrace. We had a number of A-list guests, like Stephen Fry and Lord Sebastian Coe in attendance.

Then Master of Ceremonies, Chris Cowdrey called us all for dinner. Chris is a well-known former England cricketer himself and also son of Colin Cowdrey another big cricketing name of earlier years. He did a great job as MC, taking us all through the evening with humour and panache.

There were 204 guests in attendance the maximum the venue can hold seated at circular tables for ten or twelve people.

The dinner was fabulous smoked salmon to start and a duo of lamb for the main course. Passion fruit cheesecake, coffee and petit fours completed the menu.

During the meal and in between courses, Chris Cowdrey masterfully ran a silent auction of items as well as some fundraising games, which were great fun. The guests seemed to enter into the spirit of the evening with great gusto! And still the piece de resistance (Geoff Boycott) was yet to come.

Following more auctioning of some incredible items from a holiday in the Boycott’s home in South Africa to flights to Florida Janice Day, patron, chanteuse and raconteur entertained us, and read some hilarious excerpts from her book, Getting it off my Chest. While Janice performed, Geoffrey took five lucky bidders off to the England changing room for photographs with our official photographer.

Geoffrey was introduced by another England cricket legend MJK Smith. MJK was light hearted and in excellent form. When Geoffrey finally took to the lectern, he too was on brilliant form witty, hilarious, and with a great rapport with the audience. He answered questions posed by guests in the room in his usual direct and blunt manner and went well over his allotted time.

All in all it was a spectacular evening which raised over 50,000 for the charity. Many thanks to Geoffrey and to all who contributed in so many ways.

SPONSORED WALK ACROSS THE SEVEN SISTERS IN SUSSEX May 2010

On the 8th May 2010 a group of 28 staff and friends from Oakleigh Road School, Barnet took part in a sponsored walk across part of the South Downs Way known as ’The Seven Sisters’ along the Sussex coast. The aim of the 6.5 mile ramble was to raise a suitable amount of money for the charity CANCERactive. Having lost my Mother to cancer in 2009 and being a close friend to Mr Les Bryant, a person who has gained a great deal from CANCERactive’s informative website www.canceractive.com , I felt that supporting the charity was appropriate and a good reason to organise a walk across the cliff tops.

Together with the help of Mrs Ali Mustafa, I managed to secure some free transport to the South coast from London by courtesy of H&B Group Travel with volunteer driver Debbie Watts. We duly arrived at Exceat, the start of our ramble at 11am and after gathering our energy we set off along the Cuckmere Meanders, through the South Downs Country Park to start the ascent of the first ’Sister’ Haven Brow. Apart from myself and one or two others in the party, the group had little knowledge what stretched out ahead of them. The arduous task of reaching the first cliff top, the highest of the lot with a triangular point at 97m, was rewarded with the magnificent view of the rolling cliffs before us and in the far distance our finishing point, that of the Beachy Head Pub! Short Brow was the next sister, then Rough Brow, Brass Point, Flat Hill, Bailey’s Hill and Went Hill. Eventually after a couple of hours of strenuous walking the welcome sight of the Birling Gap was upon us. Here we stopped for a mini break before resuming the thigh burning climb up to Belle Tout lighthouse then on and up to the Beachy Head summit, at 162m, the highest chalk cliff in the country. The weather by this stage had turned to drizzle and the majority of the group were finished and eating their well deserved meals within 3 hours and 30 minutes of starting. The final group of walkers included Kay Bailey, a lady of senior years who was determined to finish at all cost, finally arriving at the Pub to a hero’s welcome, and completing the walk in 4 hours and 38 minutes. It was a great day in many ways and together we managed to raise 1960 for CANCERactive. Many thanks and well done to all who gave their time and effort on the day.

STEPHEN HORN

Simon Linnegars ride from Ho Chi Minh to Angkor Wat
My recent cycle ride from Ho Chi Minh to Angkor Wat was an unforgettable experience.  This was the first time I had done anything like this and I am already planning my next trip.  My family and friends have been affected by cancer over the past few years and it was an amazing way to feel that I was doing something about it; to have a positive impact by helping such a great charity.  The country’s history and the people were breathtaking, meeting people who are so happy and generous living in poverty and recovering from recent turmoil is a real humbling and eye opening experience.   
One evening I will never forget was going for a few beers before our meal with a couple of the guys; seven beers, seven dollars.  We gave the girl who pulled tables and chairs around for us in her shanty house/bar ten dollars, said thank you and ran for our bus.  We returned after the meal for a couple more each and upon leaving she tried to refuse money from us because we had given her too much previously. Obviously we refused to accept her refusal but such generosity amidst such poverty was almost heart wrenching considering our own society. 
The cycling was perfect for me, I have never been competitive with other people but I am extremely competitive with myself.  The opportunity to push myself was a great feeling.  Cycling 100km in such heat and then for the guides to insist on us climbing a mountain of steps to see a Pagoda felt like a real chore but was SO worth it when we reached the top and saw the amazing view. The guides, including Helen from Discover Adventure, were fantastic! Speaking great English, full of enthusiasm and knowledge, they worked very hard and flexibly to ensure our trip was everything we wanted.  My fellow cyclists and I still keep in touch and are cycling from London to Paris together in September.  Despite the diversity between us you find yourself meeting like minded people and on a trip like this find connections that really bring you together.  A trip and experience I would recommend to anyone, I could write a thesis on this trip and I wanted to keep cycling up to Thai land, China and just keep going!  You won’t want to come home!

HARDCORE FUNDRAISING

Volunteer Regional Executive Ruth Epps completed the challenging Three Peaks Event and writes the following:
Just to let you know that we completed the challenge.  It was absolutely gruelling and were all hobbling around like a bunch of old crocs today.  The last peak - Ben Nevis was 4 hours up starting at 2.30a.m. in torrential rain and high winds.  Coming down took another 3 hours.  The first two, Snowdon and Scafel Pike werent too bad.  Were still fund raising and will continue till Christmas then will let you have our donation altogether.


STRICTLY BARN DANCE

George Mudge, Volunteer Regional Executive, organised a brilliant barn dance, where you could dance to the Dartmoor Pixie Band and bring your own alcohol as well as enjoying local pasties which were included in the ticket price. George sent CANCERactive a cheque for 500. This was one of many events that George organises.

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