Birthday balloon launch for Mark

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family and friends of a Sheffield dad who died of cancer are to let off balloons around the world this weekend to raise money for the charity he founded in his final months.

Fundraisers as far afield as Florida, Mexico and Greece will take part in celebrations for what would have been Mark Haydn Taylor’s 50th birthday on Sunday.

The dad-of-two, who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in 2010, set up the Mark Haydn Taylor Cancer Research Fund and made over £10,000 for the charity in a flurry of fundraising.

Now around 80 people have signed up to release balloons on Sunday, each making a donation. Among them are his widow Kathie, 48, and children Perrie, 22, and Cole, 20.

Kathie, from Handsworth, said: “The balloon launch started as just a few of us to mark his birthday but then I put it on Facebook and loads of people wanted to get involved.

“Mark was a massive Wednesdayite so I’ve suggested people might like to set off blue and white balloons. If anyone wants to do red and white balloons they have to pay double!”

Mark was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after nearly a year of illness and months of tests.

The balloon launch is the latest in a series of fundraising efforts by family and friends, who vowed to continue his charitable mission after he died.

So far the money raised for Mark’s fund totals £20,000, all of which will go to Weston Park Hospital, where Mark was treated.

Kathie said: “He loved music but was quite a quiet man – until he decided to raise money for the charity. Then he just threw himself into it.

“He’d ask everyone if they could contribute something.

“He just wanted to make something good come of his illness.”