IT’S 100 years since Douglas Macmillan set up the organisation which has become synonymous with cancer nurses.
His father had cancer but, because tuberculosis was considered a greater threat back in 1911, Douglas felt he wasn’t receiving the support he needed.
So he set up the charity Macmillan Cancer Support which has become close to many people’s hearts over the course of the past century.
And in particular it seems to be a charity which Gainsborough people are keen to back.
Last year the town’s Macmillan committee of volunteers collected more cash from Morrisons shoppers than any other Macmillan committee in the charity’s northern region, an area which spreads from Leicestershire to Scotland.
Gainsborough chairman Keith Worrell said: “Every year we have a particular week when Macmillan fundraisers all over the country go into their local Morrisons and shake buckets.”
“Last year it was the week of the snow so we lost two days because we couldn’t get there, but in five days we still managed to raise about £3,500.”
Treasurer Rachael Pugsley said money raised in Gainsborough stayed in Gainsborough.
She said: “Everything we raise is coded when it gets sent off to Macmillan and that money comes back to be spent here.”
She said that the year the Gainsborough committee began in 2000, it raised £11,500 and six years later it had a record year when £32,000 was collected.
“In 10 years we have raised £191,000, which doesn’t include the £13,800 from the sale of Christmas cards, which goes into the national pot,” said Rachael, 46, of Upton.
“Last year we collected £18,500, when we were affected by the recession.”
“It has been harder to get people to donate items for raffle prizes and things like that, but we’ve found that the donations in Morrisons and Tesco have remained high. People are still putting the pounds in the bucket.”
The Gainsborough committee was set up by Keith, 74, of Willingham, after he had personal experience of losing someone to cancer.
He was joined by his cousin’s wife Alwyn Hill, 66, of Gainsborough, who is now acting secretary.
They met Rachael when they went to open a charity account at HSBC and she was the clerk who served them.
Gemma Shaw, Macmillan Linconshire fundraising manager, said 100 years ago the charity began by offering practical help like buying bags of coal for cancer sufferers and didn’t start offering nursing care until the 1970s.
She said: “We still offer practical help and support, and not just for the cancer patient but for the whole family as well.”
The annual Macmillan coffee morning, is celebrating its 21st birthday this year and will be held on 30th September at various local venues.
The next Gainsborough fundraiser is at Hall Farm, Harpswell, on 31st July, when refreshments will be sold in aid of Macmillan from 2-5pm.
n To volunteer as a fundraiser call Keith on 788868 or Rachael on 838377.
To find out how Macmillan can help cancer sufferers call free on 0808 808 0000.