THEY’VE raised more than £6 million and helped generations of patients at Doncaster Royal infirmary, writes David Kessen.
And this summer, the Doncaster Cancer Detection Trust is celebrating 40 years of raising cash for some of the most high profile health projects in the town.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our video report.
The charity was registered in June 1972, after it emerged Doncaster Royal Infirmary was struggling to afford a bronchoscope – a piece of kit used to allow doctors to look inside people’s lungs.
The town’s then MP, Harold Walker, was signed up as the first chairman, and around 24 keen volunteers rallied round and set about the task of raising £3,000 to buy the equipment.
But in the end they struck a deal to buy it for £2,008.
Since then, the charity has gone on to donate 92 pieces of state-of-the-art medical equipment to the hospital, worth £1.8 million.
That has included the first laser outside London, and the recent £600,000 MRI scanner which was bought in February.
In addition, it has funded phases one and two of the construction of the St John’s Hospice, in Balby, forking out £4.6 million since it opened in 1992.
The volunteers who run the charity have yet to decide what their next project will be.
Jeanette Fish, one of the founder members said: “After we bought the bronchoscope, the hospital said it needed some other things and we stuck with it.
“Everything we have done, we have done in partnership with the health authority. They have agreed to pay for the running costs, and to eventually replace the items.
“They have done that with everything. but it has been the people of Doncaster who have raised the money. People have been so helpful.
“But I think we must be proudest of the opening of the St John’s Hospice in 1992. I think we were ahead of the game there, although Doncaster would probably have got a hospice eventually. We had starting talking to the health authority about that back in 1984.
“I am full of praise for the people of Doncaster who helped raise the money over the years.”
The trust is planning to run a 40th anniversary event later this year, but no decision has yet been made on how it will mark the occasion.
A number of high-profile fundraising events are planned already.
There will be a Midsummer Walk on Friday at the Keepmoat Stadium, at 7pm, and a casino night at the Earl of Doncaster Hotel on Friday, June 29.
A fundraising concert is planned at the Earl of Doncaster for September 1 and a Halloween Ball at the Doncaster School for the Deaf on October 20.
Other events in the pipeline this year include a St Leger draw, Christmas coffee morning, carol concert and memory tree.
Contact Mrs Fish on 01302 325139 for information
n Log onto www.thestar.co.uk/video to see Jeanette Fish talk about how the Doncaster Cancer Detection Trust was set up.