Frank’s £750,000 lasting town legacy

Crowland Cancer Fund trustees and beneficiaries at the charity's annual presentation night at the town's Royal British Legion Hall in Broadway, Crowland.  Photo by Tim Wilson.  SG310117-204TW.
Crowland Cancer Fund trustees and beneficiaries at the charity's annual presentation night at the town's Royal British Legion Hall in Broadway, Crowland. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG310117-204TW.
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Crowland Cancer Fund is on course to shatter the £750,000 barrier as a fitting legacy to its late founder, Frank Barrett.

Trustees, community fundraisers and guests raised a toast at the charity’s annual presentation night on Friday in memory of Mr Barrett, who died last October, aged 70.

Cheques totalling £45,000 were shared out between six charities during the event at Crowland’s Royal British Legion Hall in Broadway, including £6,000 to the Tulip Suite at Johnson Community Hospital, Pinchbeck.

The money given out at Friday’s event, the first since Mr Barrett passed away, was raised through sales at the Crowland Cancer Fund shop in East Street and its furniture warehouse in Crease Drove.

Eileen Gittins, one of the charity’s committee members, said: “The fund originally started in 1990 when Frank and Sandra Barrett took over the running of charity dances.

“It went from there to organising garden fetes, wedding receptions, funeral wakes, jumble sales and anything else where we could raise money.”

The money given to Johnson Community Hospital will go towards new recliner chairs for its Tulip Suite, where terminally patients and families are cared for.

Jenny Gittins, sister on the Welland Ward where the Tulip Suite is located, said: “We have four beds on the ward and facilities for guests to stay overnight.

“But this money will enable us to make the stay of loved ones more comfortable at what is a sad time.”

The other charities to benefit were Marie Curie, St Barnabas Hospice and Sue Ryder, which each received £10,000, Teenage Cancer Trust and Peterborough City Hospital which were given £7,000 and £2,000 respectively.

Vikki Allen, Community Events Fundraiser for St Barnabas Hospice, said: “I’ve been coming to the presentation night for quite a few years and every year that I come here, I’m astounded by the amount of money given.”

Among the guests was Sara Lupton (51), of Harvester Way, Crowland, whose treatment for ovarian cancer 25 years ago inspired Crowland Cancer Fund committee members.

Sara said: “I had cancer at about the same time as Frank had his testicular cancer and I did a lot to help my mum when she was secretary of Crowland Cancer Fund.

“It’s only a small town but it’s nice that so many people give here because cancer hits so many lives.”

In just 27 years, the charity has raised more than £737,000 for cancer charities, hospices, hospital wards and health centres.

Coun Nigel Pepper, Lincolnshire County Council member for Crowland and Whaplode who was at the event, said: “It never ceases to amaze me when I see the staggering amounts of money raised by Crowland Cancer Fund for local cancer-related causes.

“This year’s amount of £45,000 is a tremendous sum raised in just a year.

“But what is truly exceptional is the total distributed by this small charity, since it was founded by the late Frank Barrett, amounts to nearly three quarters of a million pounds.”

In a statement, the charity’s president, the Rev Mike Ongyerth, said: “Myself and my wife have been staunch supporters of this unique charity since its inception in 1990.

“It’s no mean feat for the relatively small community of Crowland to show what can be achieved if people are willing to turn ideas into reality.”