On April 17th this year my Dad died. This followed a brave fight against cancer that lasted just over a year. His cancer started in the prostate and had spread to his pelvis. Much of his time in the latter stages of his life was spent in hospital and in spite of great efforts to secure a bed in a local hospice, he only spent one day there – at the Severn Hospice in Shrewsbury – before he died. We learned later that there were spare beds but insufficient funds to make them operational.
Dad spent a lot of his life giving to others – both during his life as a schoolmaster and as an active participant in the church and the local communities wherever he and my Mum lived. Just four years ago he completed a walk along the canal tow paths of England, from Milton Keynes to Welshampton (more than 180 miles in all) to raise money to renovate the roof of his local church St Michaels in Welshampton. Quite a feat at the age of 74. I had the privilege of spending the first two days with him on the walk. He raised around £8,000 in total via the project that he called Operation Canalotto.
Before Dad died I told him I had decided to do the same walk, Canalotto II, and it is now planned. I will be starting 26th October and finishing a week later and will be raising money for three charities which are outlined below. My son Charlie will also be coming with me. Dad was really pleased I was repeating his project – I only wish he could be with me to show me the ropes.
This fund raising page is raising money for The Severn Hospice. If you would like to donate funds to The Prostate Project please click on http://www.justgiving.com/PPCanalotto2 . If you would like to donate to help me fund the project At Welshampton Church please use the hard copy attached to this email.
About Severn Hospice
Severn Hospice is not part of the NHS. It is an independent charity and two-thirds of its revenue comes from public fundraising.
It cares for people who are living with complex and progressive illnesses. Its aim is to sustain the quality of their life and to provide relief from pain and other distressing symptoms. Because incurable illnesses affect whole families the hospice offers the same loving support, help and counseling to their families, friends and carers.
Since opening in 1989 it has cared for over 16,000 patients and we it now cares for about 2500 patients each year. It costs about £500 per day for a patient to stay at the hospice.I am also raising money for the following two charities.
About The Prostate Project
The Prostate Project www.prostate-project.org.uk
The Prostate Project is a registered charity established in 1998. It prides itself in being run entirely by volunteers and keeping administration costs to nearly zero. In the last 10 years is has raised over £2.6 million.
Its research initiative, launched in 2006 at the University of Surrey Postgraduate Medical School, has grown in just 18 months to become the largest charity-funded prostate cancer research group in the UK. Currently 25 strong, The Prostate Project Foundation team are already producing results of international importance including the development of antibodies against targets on the surface of prostate cancers, the development of vaccines from the patient’s own immune cells and the use of a potential new marker in urine to identify the presence of prostate cancer.
St Michael and All Angels Church, Welshampton
My father was a Church Warden at St Michael and All Angels up until he died. It was his wish that some of the money I raised on the walk would go towards a meaningful project.After consulting various people involved in the church it has been decided to focus on improving the access to the lower burial ground, where my father was laid to rest. This is a significant project and I am pleased to be able to raise some funds for it.
The village of Welshampton is located in the northern part of the peaceful North Shropshire countryside between the historic market towns of Whitchurch and Ellesmere. Over the years the village has changed gradually from a thriving homestead for the farming community to a pleasant and characterful Shropshire village.
At the heart of all this stands the church of St Michael and All Angels - one of the most notable features of the village. With its 'round house' gable and beautiful lychgate, the church was described at its consecration in 1863 as "one of the prettiest ecclesiastical architecture of which this or any other country can boast".
Today Welshampton is a thriving rural church with modern facilities and a respect for the inheritance handed on from previous generations of the faithful.
This takes in 6 different canals, starting with the Grand Union Canal at Linford Wharf, Milton Keynes on 26th October. Over the following week I will make my way along the Oxford, Coventry, Trent & Mersey and Middlewich canals, completing my walk on the Llangollen canal on Monday 2nd November at Welshampton.