TV chef Tim Bilton 'owes his life' to incredible staff at Sheffield's Weston Park Hospital

A TV chef with terminal cancer says he ‘owes his life’ to the amazing NHS staff in Sheffield which have given him precious extra time he never thought he would have to spend with his family.

Monday, 4th July 2022, 8:35 pm

Tim Bilton was first diagnosed with melanoma, a type of skin cancer, in his eye in March 2013.

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He fought the cancer bravely but it kept returning and in summer 2019 was given the devastating news that the cancer was incurable and he had only about a year to live.

Chef Tim Bilton. Picture James Hardisty

But the 49-year-old, who is head chef at Cannon Hall Farm in Barnsley, underwent immunotherapy at Sheffield’s Weston Park Hospital, which has prolonged his life.

This has given him some precious extra quality time to spend with his wife Adele and two sons, Henry, aged 16, and Charlie, aged 10.

The married father-of-two, who lives in a small village in Huddersfield, credits hospital staff for saving his life and now refers to Weston Park as his ‘second home’.

He said: “When you first go in there it is like walking through a very long corridor, like something that you see in the movies, and it is very daunting.

Tim Bilton at Cannon Hall Farm.

“But the staff make you feel so welcome that you soon feel more relaxed. They are amazing people who do amazing work. I owe my life to them.”

He added that his cancer diagnosis has also given him a fresh perspective on life.

Said Tim: “Before my diagnosis it was all work, work, work - I was obsessed with getting a Michelin Star.

“It sounds like a cliche, but a cancer diagnosis really does change you. I think it has actually made me a better person.

The group is embarking on a sponsored walk.

“You gain a better perspective on the things that are truly important in life. And when someone tells you your time is limited, then time itself becomes so much more important - and in particular spending time with your family and friends.”

The chef has won many admirers for his culinary talents and has appeared on numerous TV shows including the BBC’s Great British Menu and Channel 5’s Springtime on the Farm.

He also counts a number of celebrity chefs as his supporters, including Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay, who sent him messages after learning of his cancer diagnosis.

Multi-Michelin Star chef Jean-Christophe Novelli also heard about Tim’s plight through his blog, On A Knife Edge, where he posts regular updates about his cancer journey.

The French chef decided to host a charity night at Cannon Hall Farm in which he delivered some cooking demos and talked about his career, all to raise money for Tim and his family.

And a lucky bidder will also get the chance to experience Tim’s culinary talents after they won the chance to have a meal cooked in their home by the chef.

They paid £2600 for the honour at the Weston Park Gala Ball on Friday, March 25, with proceeds going to the hospital.

And Tim promised they are in for a real treat.

He said: “I’ll be cooking for a group of 10 people so I’ll be brushing up on my skills. I’m looking forward to it and I’m sure they will have a great night.

“I am so grateful for what Weston Park has done for me and I want to help them out in any way I can.”

*Tim will be taking part in a sponsored walk in memory of his friend Ben Jebson. The group hopes to walk from Big Ben in London back to Kirkburton, Huddersfield, between April 9 and 15. To pledge your support visit www.bigbentoburton.co.uk