Newport's £750k cancer fundraisers honoured
5:15am Tuesday 11th February 2014 in Gwent news
A NEWPORT group which has raised £750,000 for Cancer Research UK over 25 years were rewarded for their efforts with an event held in their honour at the Senedd.
Newport and District Group of Friends started raising money in 1988 and after raising the equivalent of £100 per day, Cancer Research UK staged the event in Cardiff Bay to show their appreciation.
The group was founded in 1988 by Bridget and Michael Locke, who live on Parkfield Place, to support Imperial Cancer Research Fund, which later merged with other cancer charities to become Cancer Research UK.
They have run their own events, like garden parties at their home, but have also collected donations from other people in the Newport area. The last garden party they held raised £900 in 2008. Mrs Locke has been involved in fundraising for some time.
Now 80, she said: “My first fund raising memory is when I was 10-years-old during the war organising a mini funfair in the garden in aid of Wings for Victory Week. All those years ago we started with very small beginnings but we knew there was such a great need for cancer research and there was no Imperial Cancer Research Fund volunteer group in the area.”
Before having three children, Mrs Locke was the women’s editor at the South Wales Argus for six years until 1960. She said her motivation comes from the “wonderful progress” scientists are making to find a cure for cancer.
Mr Locke, 82, who worked as an architect for the Powell Alport Partnership in Newport, ran annual golf days at Newport Golf Club which have so far raised £160,000. In 2002 their golf day was visited by Newport and Ryder Cup golfer Phillip Price. The group had raised £50,000 by 1992, £250,000 by 2002, £500,000 in 2005 and have raised more since the ceremony to top up the £750,000.
Mr Locke said: “We had a little girl who had a relative who had had cancer and she gave us £15. It’s just everything we can collect. Because people know we are here and they know we are happy to receive it, we receive it.”
In 2008 Mr Locke was awarded an MBE for his charity work. He told the Argus at the time: “I always say that in my case, MBE stands for Michael, Bridget, and everyone else.”
Among other fundraisers who have helped the Lockes, Jan McDonnell from Maindee raised more than £600 after being diagnosed with breast cancer by having her head shaved in December 2012. Mrs McDonnell has continued to raise money and has now donated more than £1,000. Peter Davies, volunteer fundraising senior manager at Cancer Research UK, thanked the group. Dame Rosemary Butler said: “The dedication of this committee is something which should be celebrated.”