Our Inspiration

The Melanoma Fund (originally known as the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund) was founded in memory of Myfanwy by her husband Harry after she died from the disease in 1999.

Harry went on to dedicate his time to building the charity, until his death in 2020.

About Myfanwy

A dedicated wife and mother to three boys, Myfanwy was a nurse at the Horncastle House Nursing Home and at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.

She was the former chairman of East Grinstead Operatic Society, the conductor of the Forest Row Royal National Lifeboat Institution Choir and ‘mother’ of the legendary Felbridge Juniors Rugby Club.

Alongside her husband Harry, she organised the 80 miles South Downs Way Run and the ‘World Trail Running Championships’ and was known and loved by all who knew her, but none so much as her husband and three boys.

Melanoma

Myfanwy was diagnosed with melanoma about 14 years before her death. After initial treatment, she had been in remission for 12 years, however the disease sadly recurred and spread to her lymph nodes. As the condition worsened, she was sent to the Royal Marsden for a scan, identifying that melanoma had spread to her brain.

Never Forgotten

Harry and Myfanwy had been married for 37 years and lived for each other. She was only 60. The family were all determined that she should never be forgotten; and established the charity to help stop what happened to them, from happening to others.

About Harry

As part of his mission to fight melanoma, Harry embarked 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 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.

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. Whilst in New Zealand Harry met up with Mark Habgood, and with an interested group of clinicians and businesspeople and used some of his donations to form the Melanoma Foundation of New Zealand (now Melanoma NZ) which still thrives today.

Harry dedicated his life to remembering his late wife. His work has been far reaching and impactful, creative, and pervasive, meeting like-minded people and organisations to raise over £700,000 in donations, helping fund research by some of the best facilities in Europe.

Author

Harry wrote two books; ‘The Slowest Pilgrim’ and ‘Harry the Wheelbarrow Man’ (published by Dreamtime Publications) detailing his adventures and his achievements with the charity. He remained modest and dedicated to the end, saying; “We need to create impact and that’s why I’m doing it. If I can prevent someone from and going through what my family did, my job is done.”

We salute you Harry and will never forget your legacy!

Make a Donation

Our work is focused on raising awareness of melanoma and other forms of skin cancer, all undertaken by a small, but focused team. Today is a tough environment for all charities, especially for smaller organisations like ourselves who depend on donations to survive. All support is greatly appreciated.