MOSSLEY Cancer Committee has plans in place to mark its 50th anniversary of fundraising for patients in the area.
Just 17 women are responsible for the tens of thousands of pounds that have been donated to all kinds of causes.And they show no signs of slowing down, with more of a look towards bigger events to mark its half century.
Normally, coffee mornings – once a month at Mossley Band Club – are the base from which everything is grown.
However, there may be fewer in its 50th year as members gather together ideas on how to mark the special occasion.
In its 49th year, the Cancer Committee handed over an amazing £19,300 – but chair Rita Brooks has her eye on breaking that over the course of 2019 and 2020.
“One of the older ladies said, ‘We should go for the £50,000,’” she revealed. “I just went, ‘I think that’s pushing it just a little bit.’“If we could get between £20,000 and £25,000, that would be wonderful.
“I can’t begin to tell you how much we’ve raised over the course of the 50 years – I’d guess somewhere in the region of £80,000 – but I’m not just happy with what we’ve done over the last year.
“I’m happy with what we’ve achieved over the past 15-20 years that I’ve been involved. We just seem to have increased the money we’ve raised year on year.
“We never have a target, we just go with the flow.
“We’ve already had our duck race at Stamford Golf Club, which raised about £780, and we organise coach trips with a raffle on the bus.
“But because of the special year, we’re going to have a meeting to decide what we want to do. I suggested we should have something we’ve never done before like a tea dance.
“I think we’re going to try to do some bigger events, which could mean we might not do as many of the coffee mornings. We intend to do our level best, though, to go out with a bang.”
Mossley Cancer Committee helps provide ‘pamper bags’ for people receiving chemotherapy, including things as basic as pen and paper and something to read to help while away the time at the Macmillan unit at Tameside Hospital.
It also donated funds to help pay for sandwiches, buy magazines and books and spa equipment as part of a £4,000 handout – part of an estimated total of about £23,000 over recent years.
Willow Wood Hospice, Christie Hospital, Dr Kershaw’s Hospice, Cancer Research UK, Prevent Breast Cancer, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Marie Curie, Reuben’s Retreat, Maggies at The Christie and in Oldham, the Cecilia Unit at Wythenshawe Hospital, London’s University Hospital and the Dianne Oxberry Trust also received funds from their efforts.
Not bad for a group of ladies ranging from their mid-50s to late 90s – with a great amount of public support.
Rita added: “We’re fortunate in Mossley that we’ve quite a supportive network of people, it’s very uplifting.
“We only have to say we’re going to do something and immediately 20 people are signed up.
“It also doesn’t seem to matter how much we’ll charge. It’s lovely.
“The lovely thing is we don’t expect people to follow us, it just happens. The fellowship it generates is unbelievable.”
Since Rita joined, Mossley Cancer Committee has grown from irregular get togethers and handing over a few hundred pounds to Tameside Hospital.Now it has also received a grant of £500 from the Action Together charity, which will go to make another 79 pamper bags.
Do not think, though, that means they can ease off – they are also behind Mossley’s concert of remembrance every November.
Rita continued: “When I first joined, there were a group who thought an afternoon tea and another event was enough but I came up with all sorts of ideas.
“They started to take them on board, though and three years ago I heard someone in a library queue saying, ‘We must be the only town in Tameside to not have a remembrance concert in November.’
“So I approached Mossley Band and said, ‘How do you feel about doing a joint effort?’ We’re going to do our third one this year on November 8 called Forever Remembered in Music at George Lawton Hall.
“Now at the coffee mornings, on a poor day we make £350 and on a good day £550.
“We’ll also still make the bags ourselves as we made the decision to keep doing so as long as the need arises. Well it’s always going to arise people aren’t going to stop suffering from cancer all of a sudden, are they?
“We don’t want notoriety. We just want people that are suffering from cancer to have the comforts they deserve.
“People from organisations have seen us in action and they couldn’t believe it. We come from all different backgrounds and are of all different ages but it works and it works terrifically well.
“Our motto is ‘To make a difference’ and I think we do make a difference.”