£4,000 raised for specialist teenager cancer unit

Coun Timbers with Father and Mrs Christmas - Stan and Jean Coleman - and their great-grandaughter, Claire's niece Grace Cowens ready to make the award
Coun Timbers with Father and Mrs Christmas - Stan and Jean Coleman - and their great-grandaughter, Claire's niece Grace Cowens ready to make the award

A Hebden Bridge family made it a great Christmas for a cancer charity when they presented £4,000 to help its specialist work.

The Mayor of Hebden Royd, Coun Jonathan Timbers, presented a cheque to the Teenage Cancer Unit at Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield on behalf of the Hebden Bridge Teenage Cancer Appeal, a local charity which is run by Jean and Stan Coleman and their grand-daughter, Claire Cowens.

The cheque was presented to a representative of the unit at a children’s disco and winter fayre held at Hebden Bridge Methodist Church in the run up to Christmas.

The Mayor said: “This local family-run charity has raised £4,000 in two years, which is an incredible feat. I was honoured to be asked to present the cheque on their behalf.

“All praise should go to Jean and Stan, their grand-daughter, Claire, and family and friends for their commitment, creativity and effort. They’ve been generous donors to the unit for some years now and just keep on going, raising more and more money. I think they’re amazing.”

Claire, who is 26, was treated for cancer at the unit four years ago and continues to receive cheques. Weston Park houses one of just four such specialist units across Great Britain and opened 12 years ago but has endured funding cuts.

As a result Jean, Stan and Claire set up the Hebden Bridge Teenage Cancer Appeal and have raised thousands of pounds for the unit.

The appeal raises money by attending local events and galas, such as the Hebden Bridge Duck Race, Mytholmroyd Gala and Blackshaw Head fete, and relies entirely on the generosity of local people.

Jean explained that the teenage cancer unit is one of only two, both under the same doctor, which deals with unusual or rare cancers, in the country - the other is at Charing Cross in London. Treating young people who are aged between about 16 and 26, it is set up to allow patients to continue studying and even take important exams there.

Recent television appeals asking for people to support teenage cancer charities had encouraged Claire, who has completed a BTec Level 3 Diploma in Animal Management, achieving the highest grades possible in the process, to keep up the fundraising.

Jean said: “Altogether we have raised £7,000 for the unit and that’s thanks to the people of Hebden Bridge who 
come and support us. The pre-Christmas party is attended by a lot of young people the same age as Claire come along with their children and they all mix in together. It’s become an annual event for the young people of Hebden Bridge.”

Jean and Stan invite volunteers to help them raise money - they can be contacted on 01422 846475 for more information - and would like to thank their friends, especially Gemma and Alison, for baking cakes for the winter fayre.

Weston Park’s world-leading reputation as a centre of excellence in the fight against cancer is recognised, not only here in the UK, but also internationally.

Its approach to cancer care, as well as the cancer treatments it develops, is what is truly ground-breaking.

The specialist unit is not just for the medical needs of the patients but also provides emotional support to young people for whom the treatment experience may be particularly daunting.

The aim is to reassure young cancer patients by allowing them to be with others of a similar age. Hopefully this will help them to share their experiences at this defining stage of their lives, for example, about making future career or study plans.

All of the bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms, equipped with an electronic bed, a computer with internet access, a teklephone and television and video facilities, and reclining chairs for friends and relatives wishing to stay overnight.

The money raised will help provide a new place in the unit.