“It was quite something getting into a taxi and saying ‘Take me to the House of Lords’,” chuckled Cancer Research Lewis branch chairwoman Kay Mackay.
In recognition of her long-term support to Cancer Research UK, Kay was recently invited to attend a lunch in the House of Lords, hosted by The Lord Evans of Watford, in honour of the charity’s work.
Speaking of the occasion, Kay said: “It was a wonderful experience. Getting into the House of Lords was like going through airport security, but the place is absolutely lovely and the food was delicious.
“The lunch was held in a conservatory with a balcony overlooking the river, and when we went in we had champagne and canapés on the balcony, it was wonderful.”
Kay first became involved with Cancer Research UK in 1980 and since then has had ‘two stints’ in her present role as chairwoman, around 16 years in total.
She explained why she is so dedicated to the charity: “When I started nursing 50 years ago there was no cure for cancer and people had very limited radiotherapy and pain control, it was a death sentence.
“I became involved with Cancer Research UK as I was interested in the attempts to try and discover a cure and more successful treatments.
“Unfortunately there is still no cure for what causes cancer, but there has been huge success in the treatments, both chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and that is all through research.”
And although recognised for her own support of the charity, for Kay, the honour is very much shared with the Cancer Research Lewis branch committee and fund-raisers – and the people of Lewis.
“Islanders are so incredibly generous to all charities and to us,” she said. “In the last three years we have sent away between £60,000 and £63,000 – when I was down in London sitting at my table with people from central England, they were flabbergasted by the amount a small island can raise.
“I have to thank Cancer Research for inviting me to the House of Lords lunch, but also thank you to the very hard working local committee who collect the money and of course to the people of Lewis for donating – without them we can’t fund raise for this worthy charity.”