Charity Commission Registration Number 1085969
OUR STATEMENT OF INTENT!
Our watchword is - 'The Darker Side of the Sun'
When my wife Myfanwy died on October 20th 1999 from melanoma, aged only 60, it almost broke our hearts. So myself and our three sons decided then and there that we would set up a Charity in her name to find a cure for this terrible disease and raise awareness.
Well, we've progressed from there: we've realised that it's not a personal crusade, but that it embraces millions of people worldwide. It was Matthew's story that brought this home to me (see 'How did it all start?' below) and we 'went national' seven years ago with our annual organisation of Melanoma Awareness Week. It will be June 15th to 23rd next year (2013)
We've raised some £400,000 in these thirteen years, as support of our objectives of Awareness, Prevention, Education and Funding Research to Strive to Find a Cure has increased enormously
DVD for Schools
Raising awareness is essential: and we've been working on a DVD for Schools for the past two years. Skin cancer is an element in the GCSE Science syllabus in many examination boards: and Tuesday June 12th 2012 is the launch of our DVD The Dark Side of the Sun.
It was filmed and edited by Jack Wolstencroft from East Grinstead and features Steve Bush (Head of Science at Sackville School, East Grinstead) and his GCSE students, and Paul Banwell, head of the MASCU (Melanoma and Skin Cancer Unit) at Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead. It was produced by Myfanwy's Charity and funded by the colleagues and students of Louise Parker of the London Borough of Redbridge. Lou was an inspirational teacher, national hockey player and top triathlete, who died from melanoma aged only 35
The DVD has been added to YouTube, whence it can be freely downloaded: search on The Dark Side of the Sun upload v1 and it can be seen with great clearness and good quality sound
'Hard copies' are FREE to all schools and educational and social groups (although we never turn away donations!). Just contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you want one sent. It will be our pleasure. There will be lots of other 'marketting' taking place: this is just the start!
SUN HAT DAYS
This year we are hoping that lots of Primary Schools will link with Melanoma Awareness Week and will organise Sun Hat Days to help children and parents to take care and stay safe in the sun: and of course, to Have Fun in the Sun. We hope that adults also will hold Sun Hat Parties in their gardens at any time during the summer: we've got lots of leaflets, T shirts, lime green wristbands and UV bracelets (the beads change colour in the sun!) to publicise what we do. We even have a recipe for Sun Hat Cup Cakes!
We have a very full information pack as guidance for teachers: just ask email@example.com
Now, please read on
MELANOMA IS TRULY ONE OF THE 'DISEASES OF THE 21st CENTURY'
Melanoma is one of the 'Diseases of the 21st Century'. 1 in 1,500 suffered from melanoma in the 1930s. Now the incidence is 1 in 50. The bad news is that it's getting worse, with the incidence doubling in the past ten years. Worse still, unless it's diagnosed early, there is a very high death rate: and it's the most common cancer amongst young people.
If everybody who knows somebody who's suffered from melanoma was to donate £1 every year to Myfanwy's Charity, we'd get £60 million every year: because almost everybody in Britain knows somebody who's suffered from (and very often, died from) melanoma. Melanoma is potentially one of the world's major killers.
We intend to do four things:
a) raise awareness
We need to increase awareness of malignant melanoma and invite support for Myfanwy's Charity and it's objectives: so we need
a) the involvement of everybody touched by melanoma, working towards these common goals
Do YOU know anybody in the media? Do you have friends affected by melanoma? Tell them about what we're doing, and why! Put them in touch. Not tomorrow; NOW
Similarly, if you or a friend has a mole that is 'doing things', changing, then go to your doctor. Not tomorrow: NOW, and you might just have saved a life
How did it all start?
I guess that it started as a personal crusade, born out of my love for Myfanwy. We invited all our friends over the years to join with us to work in Myfanwy's memory: for instance, the more than 1,000 players (and their parents) who built Felbridge Juniors Rugby Club from a small village in Sussex to become ranked amongst the top youth rugby clubs in the world entirely by their own efforts, the more than 1,000 runners who took part over 16 years in the 80 miles South Downs Way Run that we organised, the hundreds of friends over 40 years in East Grinstead Operatic Society, the hundreds of guys with whom I played and coached at East Grinstead, Crawley and Wingspan Rugby Clubs, the thousands who read my columns in Rugby World and Garden News, the thousands who knew Myfanwy and myself at the major gardening Shows where we worked for Garden News, and further thousands with whom I worked and spoke at Kew Gardens for more than 20 years. Lots more friends in East Grinstead, as well. So many thousands knew us both: so many knew Myfanwy's wonderful smile: so many knew of her death from this terrible disease.
But it all fell in to perspective on my own personal 'Road to Damascus': my walk from end to end of the North Island of New Zealand, pushing a wheelbarrow. Near Te Kauwhata, a gentleman came up to me as I was walking along. 'My name's Matthew', he said. 'Hi, Matthew', I replied, putting down the wheelbarrow handles. 'My wife died from melanoma six weeks ago', he said: 'She was only thirty eight, and we've got seven children aged from 2 to 12'.
I realised then that it was no longer just a personal crusade: it was for all the people like Matthew, seven children to bring up and a farm to run, who had lost loved ones to this terrible disease and didn't know to whom they could turn or what they could do. I'm in tears as I write this: it is so close to home
I realised then that there are so many millions of us: and we must band together, to raise awareness and find a cure
There are so many inspiring and yet infinitely sad stories: I hope that you'll visit our Donations Page to see these. For instance, Alison Taylor organised a Midnight Sponsored Walk: three days before the Walk, Alison and Wayne's fifteen year old daughter Katie died from melanoma. But the Walk still went ahead: Alison organised the tea and food at the Village Hall, and 157 walkers raised more than £8,000. Such courage for Alison to go ahead with this: and when we went up to meet Alison, Wayne and brother Chris later, there was a fantastic barbecue, a loving celebration of Katie's life
Then there's the six golfers, organised by Neil Parker in memory of Neil's wife's best friend, who played 100 holes of golf in a day from 0430 to 8pm and raised £6,000
There are so many similar stories: and they all reinforce our determination to fulfil our objectives of awareness, prevention, early dagnosis and finding a cure
WHAT HAVE WE DONE SO FAR?
We've donated £23,000 to set up a melanoma laboratory at RAFT within Mount Vernon Hospital (Northwood), and donated a further £15,000 to purchase a Solar Simulator essential for their work: and on May 11th 2007 we donated £20,000 to Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, to fund the initial appointment of a specialist skin cancer nurse within their expanding MASCU (Melanoma and Skin Cancer Unit). She will also have an educational role. My walk from end to end of the north island of New Zealand (800 miles, 68 days) pushing a wheebarrow (you'll find all the details if you click on to New Zealand in the column on the left) raised $24,000 about £9,000): this was the catalyst for the formation of the Melanoma Foundation of New Zealand (http://www.melanoma.org.nz/ ), now the major national melanoma charity there, and which held it's first Australasian Melanoma Conference in January 2009. We also donated $6,000 to fund melanoma research at the Malaghan Institute in Welllington.
We donated (May 18th 2008) an initial £2,000 to help fund a marvellous DVD, designed for schools, and produced thanks to the drive and determination of Peter and Bet Kaye in Bodmin. Their daughter Becca sadly died from metastatic melanoma in 2007, aged only 35: and Becca's Angels came together to makes sure that she would never be forgotten by her friends and family. I hope that you'll visit their website http://www.melanomaproject.co.uk/
Becca was a primary school teacher at Lewannick in Cornwall: previously she had been co-director of the Small Scale Theatre Company. Her friend Donna has directed a series of films, collected on the single DVD, which is being distributed initially through Cornwall but hopefully to a far wider nationwide audience. The DVD has three sections: Play Safe, in which the children of Lewannick School share their memories of 'Miss Kaye' and show how they take care of themselves. This is designed for children and parents. Then comes Skin Sense, designed for young adults and sunworshippers: and then Doctors, where the medical background is provided, and which is useful for all professionals.
This can be obtained from Peter Kaye firstname.lastname@example.org
We're happy to keep funding this DVD: Raising Awareness is one of our major objectives, and this DVD fulfils this objective fantastically.
2008 was the year of Twelve Months to Raise a Million, a 'Challenge' culminating in a trek from rim to rim of the Grand Canyon on September 10th and 11th of myself, middle son Stewart and Sarah Nesbitt, a marathon runner from Devon with whom I'd taken part in the 5 day 100km of the Sahara race a year earlier
This 'Challenge' attracted enormous support and, although we'd got rather carried away and put one too many 'noughts' on the end of our target, we still raised more than £100,000 and it's still coming! The diary for that year is on the website: just click on to Million Pound Target in the column on the left
This trek was truly international: because the Melanoma Foundation of New Zealand, and the Malaghan Institute in Wellington, as well as the Melanoma International Foundation in the USA, also raised money from sponsors in their own countries from this trek to fund research within their own countries.
At last we had enough money in the bank to be able to 'do MORE things' to promote awareness and fund research: and we pray that this will never stop! 2008/9 became fantastic! By January 2009 we were able:
a) to donate £37,000 (plus a further £13,000 in 2010) to fund the research of Professor Richard Marais and his team at Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden
b) to donate £30,000 to help fund the innovative work of Dr Kevin Harrington at the Istitute of Cancer Research
c) to donate £12,000 to fund the work of Dr Rachel Haywood into improving the efficacy of sun screen creams at RAFT, where we'd already donated £38,000 to fund a laboratory and provide an essential Solar Simulator. We added a further £10,000 to fund Rachel's work in spring 2010
d) to plan a DVD covering the skin cancer unit of the GCSE Science curriculum for distribution to schools throughout Britain
e) to set aside £45,000 to fund the first Mobile Mole Assessment Unit (Man with a Van) that is now touring the beaches, shopping centres, schools and festivals in Cornwall. This had have matched funding from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly PCT and Community Health: and it was 'on the road' by late June 2009, staffed by two wonderful, bright young ladies. We want to add more similar units: because Awareness and Prevention are key objectives! But we couldn't have done this without the help of Peter and Bet Kaye in Bodmin, who initially masterminded this and worked fantastically hard, and supported by our great friend of many years, Alan Warwick
f) to fund the initial appointment of Specialist Skin Cancer Nurse Jackie Blunt at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead at the end of June 2009: and Head Gardener John Hobden designed and planted a commemorative garden as a focal point in the hospital grounds. This was supported by local Garden Centre Haskins
g) to donate £25,000 to kickstart a major research project at the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, where Myfanwy worked for a time after we got married, and thanks principally to a £15,000 bequest by Ruth Marshall of East Grinstead who sadly died from malignant melanoma early in 2011
h) organise Melanoma Awareness Week nationally: in 2012 (our sixth annual event) this will be from June 16th to 24th, when our supporters will bombard the media and organise a vast range of fundraising events
Thanks to the support of so many people, we've raised about £300,000 in these past ten years: and support is growing rapidly!
LEEDS UNITED SUPPORT
The support of Leeds United is a major catalyst in publicising the work and objectives of the Charity. We have many well known Supporters, including Paula Radcliffe, Martin Johnson, Alan Titchmarsh and Bill Roach (Ken Barlow of Coronation Street)
May 11th 2007 was a significant day, when we forged close links with the world famous Queen Victoria Hospital (QVH) in East Grinstead with an initial donation of £20,000. Famed as the home of plastic surgery due to the association with Sir Archibald McIndoe and his 'Guinea Pig Club', the QVH has continued it's reputation for excellence in clinical care. As a Foundation Trust and 3-star hospital, it provides specialist Plastic and Reconstructive services to the South East of England and beyond.
Myfanwy's Charity is proud to support new initiatives there where the new Melanoma and Skin Cancer Unit (MASCU) has been set up . This skin cancer unit, headed by Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Mr Paul Banwell FRCS (Plast), provides first-class skin cancer services and education for over 4 million people in the south east. We are delighted to be actively involved there: and we will be happy to provide further support as needs arise. This exciting project will allow patients access to one-stop pigmented lesion clinics, education programmes and involvement in clinical research aimed at improving melanoma skin cancer care.
Early diagnosis and raising awareness is so essential to combat this terrible disease, and it's a dream come true that this Unit (which will serve the entire south east) will be at our local hospital, Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead where Myfanwy (who trained at St Thomas' Hospital in London) nursed after we got married. She was so well known in musical and sports circles in this area, and we know that her many friends will lend their support in establishing this unique unit. We hope that similar Units will be set up nation wide. We're so pleased that Paul Banwell, a world renowned melanoma specialist, has proposed this initiative.
I (Harry) published my book 'THE SLOWEST PILGRIM' in December 2006, the story of my walk along the Pilgrim Trail across northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela (38 days, 500 miles): an entertaining read and introducing the many amazing people that I met (like Popeye the Unsuccessful Juggler) and their equally amazing stories. It is available from Harry Townsend, 6 Manor Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19 1LR (01342 322508) for £5.99 plus £1.00 postage and packing: all profits go to the Charity. Cheques should be made out to the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund
My book 'Harry the Wheelbarrow Man', the story of my 800 mile, 68 day walk from end to end of the north island of New Zealand pushing my wheelbarrow, George, was published in September 2011 and is similarly available as above for £6.00 plus p. and p. £2.00: it's an entertaining read and raised enough money to act as the catalyst for the formation of the Melanoma Foundation of New Zealand http://www.melanoma.org.nz/ which is now a major and very active Charity in New Zealand
We can't say often enough that we need YOUR help: please come on board!
FUND RAISING INITIATIVES, PAST AND PRESENT
Myfanwy's favourite flower was the sweet pea: this became the emblem of our Charity.
International seed form Thompson and Morgan from Ipswich are great supporters, with tremendous help from Stephen Gittins and Stuart Sherwood, and produced a sweet pea named Myfanwy Townsend, a wonderful long stemmed vibrant red flower, and packets of the seed are available from Harry Townsend, 6 Manor Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19 1LR for £1.50 including p. and p. (cheques to Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund) or for £1 per packet from Kew Gardens, Wisley, and many outlets local to East Grinstead.
We've now also marketing (again, thanks to Thompson and Morgan) a sunflower under our watchword The Darker Side of the Sun. It grows up to 6ft tall and it's a unique colour: a large flower with a dark purple centre with petals shading through dark red to yellow at the tips. Children will love it: and once again, it's £1 per packet or £1.50 including p and p. Good news is that, even if not sown until mid June, it will still flower by late autumn!
Bruce Craven, Sports Therapist of Leeds United, sadly died from melanoma aged 32: and the whole club banded together in his memory to support us. The players donated from their own pockets to provide our lime green wristbands with the wording MELANOMA AWARENESS http://www.melanoma-fund.co.uk// and these are again available from me (Harry Townsend). We get enormous help from the club, and much of this is thanks to the efforts of Stix Lockwood and Alan Sutton
We're particularly proud to have initiated and organised MELANOMA AWARENESS WEEK for the past five years nationally, when our friends and supporters nationwide bombard the media and organised fundraising and awareness events. This year (2012) it will be from June 16th to 24th: it's listed and publicised in Year Ahead and Foresight, the national reference lists of events.
Many events have been organised by friends and supporters to raise money, from Concerts to Triathlon and Trail races to Indoor Bowls Tournaments. Many donations have also been received. Read about all these by clicking on to Donations on the left of the main menu : so many stories, all so inspiring, many heartbreakingly sad. They put what we're doing in to perspective
Although I've done lots of 'way out' fundraising 'Challenges' to raise money and to publicise what we're doing, and why, there is an increasing number of supporters, all with such inspiring stories, who are funding the work of Myfanwy's Charity and driving it forward
My own first major Challenge was in November 2000 when, together with youngest son Cameron and brother in law Peter Clarke, I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
The next was the crossing of the Grand Canyon, the fabled Rim to Rim, in September 2002, together with the entire front row of British Airways Wingspan Rugby Club, who I coached for about twelve years. Click on to Grand Canyon on the left of the screen to read our report.
The next Challenge was to walk the Pilgrim Trail across Spain in the summer of 2003, almost 500 miles from St Jean Pied de Port on the French south west corner of the Pyrenees, across the Pyrenees and along tracks, trails and minor roads through Pamplona, Burgos and Leon to the Cathedral of St James at Santiago de Compostela. This took place in July and August 2003. Click on to Spanish Pilgrim Trail on the left of the screen to read about this. My book about this, 'The Slowest Pilgrim', was published in December 2006. If you want a copy, contac t me (Harry Townsend) at 6 Manor Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19 1LR and enclose a cheque for £7.00 to cover postage and packing!
I then walked from end to end of the north island of New Zealand as 'Harry the Wheelbarrow Man', pushing a wheelbarrow (to raise 'a wheelbarrow full of money') between February and May 2004 (800 miles in 68 days). It was a truly wonderful, exhilarating experience and I received tremendous support and friendship. Read all about it by clicking on to 'New Zealand' on the left, and reading my diary and what happened as a result. The book of the walk, 'Harry the Wheelbarrow Man, should be in the bookshops by summer 2010
'Rowing' a marathon on a rowing machine (42,195 metres) at the gym followed before Christmas 2004.
Next spring, I went out to Death Valley in Arizona and ran the Death Valley Marathon (the usual 26 miles 195 yards): another great and exhilarating experience
March 2007 saw me fulfil a great ambition at the age of 70 and I completed the 5 day 100kms (actually, about 128km) of the Sahara race in Tunisia
September 2008 saw myself, middle son Stewart, and marathon runner Sarah Nesbitt attempt the rim to rim crossing of the Grand Canyon once again: and although I personally fell and had to trek back to the North Rim, Stewart and Sarah completed the trek successfully and this was the catalyst for the year of fundraising that raised £100,000!
The following day, Stewart and a work colleague climbed Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the contiguous United States, completing a unique double
Although this made me realise that it was probably time to hand over the 'baton' of innovative fundraising 'Challenges', fundraising initiatives are increasingly successful and imaginative. Read about them on our Donations Notice Board. We're all fighting a battle together to raise awareness and find a cure for a terrible disease
All these 'Challenges' enabled us to raise money and gain publicity: and support from a great many individuals and organisations has increased enormously. There are so many inspiring and yet heartbreakingly sad stories, all united by the desire to find a cure and raise awareness of melanoma (click on to 'Donations' in the 'menu' on the left for details)
As a result, support since then has really 'taken off': it's been fantastic!
FORTHCOMING EVENTS AND MERCHANDISE.
If you click on to Fundraising Events in the menu on the left hand side of this page, you'll find it all set out. Please support us!
Bill Roach (Ken Barlow in Coronation Street) supports melanoma research
Other major supporters include personalities from the media, horticulture and sport including former England and British Lions captain Martin Johnson, world 'super-athlete' Paula Radcliffe and gardening 'guru' Alan Titchmarsh: their messages are in our Supporters section on the website (click on to Supporters in the menu in the left hand column of the website)
Thanks to Alan Sutton at Leeds, the Leeds United players, Yorkshire County Cricket Club players including England skipper Michael Vaughan, and stars of top 'soap' Emmerdale (Zak Dingle, Paddy and Eric Pollard and former stars Lorraine Chase, Jarvis and Shadrach) agreed to be photographed wearing Myfanwy's Charity ribbon badges to signify their support of Melanoma Awareness.
The support of Leeds United has been a major catalyst in raising money and awareness in memory of Bruce Craven, their Sports Therapist, who sadly died from melanoma aged only 32
NATIONAL MELANOMA AWARENESS WEEK
National Melanoma Awareness Week takes place in June each year. We have organised this, with our increasing number of supporters, for the past five years. Next year this will be from June 16th to 24th 2012
We need to get immense media exposure to fund research into a disease which has become one of the Diseases of the 21st century: and we need YOUR help as ever if we are to find a cure for this terrible disease that has become one of the 'Diseases of the 21st century'.
Please contact me at email@example.com if you want to help in any way: publicity, fundraising, or any ideas that YOU might have.
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