Formerly known as the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund

About Harry

Harry Townsend set up the charity in 1999 after his wife Myfanwy died of Melanoma. He has since dedicated his waking hours to raising awareness and as much money as possible to help prevent this cancer destroying other lives and families.

mosaic of harry townsend founder of melanoma fund charity

Melanoma warrior

As part of his mission, Harry has jetted off around the world to embark on some of the toughest physical challenges possible, including climbing Kilimanjaro, walking the Pilgrim Trail, and competing in the gruelling Marathon des Sables. He tackled the Grand Canyon not once, but twice, crossing it rim to rim non-stop with the entire front row of Wingspan Rugby Club (he was their coach at the time) to raise funds for the charity.

Says Harry; “It was a tough challenge, 24 miles in total with a 13,000ft climb and descent at an overall 1 in 9 gradient in temperatures often far in excess of 100F in one of the harshest areas of the world, but we enjoyed every minute.”

harry townsend the wheelbarrow man in new zealandharry townsend the wheelbarrow man in new zealand

Harry the wheelbarrow man

In 2004 Harry walked 800 miles in 68 days, from one end of the North Island of New Zealand to the other with a wheelbarrow named ‘George’, collecting donations along the way. He was joined by old friend Mark Habgood, who swung into action to help organise things, and Harry was supported along the way by Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs and rugby clubs.

harry townsend new zealand charity walkharry townsend new zealand charity walk

Melanoma NZ

Whilst in New Zealand Mark and Harry made contact with the Waitemata District Health Board where research and treatment into melanoma was underway. With an interested group of clinicians and business people, it was agreed to found a charity. From the generous donation of funds raised during this walk, the Melanoma Foundation of New Zealand (now Melanoma NZ) was established and still thrives today.

harry townsend collecting money for charityharry townsend collecting money for charity

Whatever it Takes

Apart from tackling uninhabitable terrains to raise funds for the charity, Harry has producing DVDs for schools, which paid for Jackie Blunt to work as a cancer nurse at Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead. He helped fund and manned the ‘Mole Patrol’, a mobile mole awareness clinic in the West Country with Sun Safe in Cornwall. Organised Sun Hat Days with local schools and has sold Christmas cards, UV bracelets, branded bands and has teamed up with many like-minded people and organisations to help them raise funds for their own melanoma charities.

harry townsend and michelle baker supporting melanoma fund charityharry townsend and michelle baker supporting melanoma fund charity

​Executive Support

Harry currently dedicates his time to supporting Michelle Baker (the CEO) in running the charity and its two major campaigns; the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code and Watch Your Back!, and also chairing the current board of Trustees. Although Harry is not as mobile as he once was, if there is money to be raised and people to be educated, rest assured, Harry will be there.

harry townsend wheelbarrow man and the slowest pilgrimharry townsend wheelbarrow man and the slowest pilgrim


Harry has written two books; ‘The Slowest Pilgrim’ and ‘Harry the Wheelbarrow Man’ (published by Dreamtime Publications) detailing his adventures Talking of his achievements with the charity, Harry remains modest and says, ”We need support to create impact and that’s why I’m doing it. There’s no known cure yet, but finding one is my goal.”

We salute you Harry
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