The Million pound heroes

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The Lewis branch of Cancer Research have stunned their national counterparts after passing the milestone of having raised a million pounds.

Hitting the million pound mark is a huge achievement for all involved with the Lewis-branch who have worked tirelessly to boost the coffers of Cancer Research.

The charge over the line for the massive amount began in the autumn when committee member Norman Macdonald noticed the local branch were just £60,000 shy of the seven-figure milestone which sparked an added incentive to fundraise.

Lewis branch chair Kay Mackay explained: “We really went for it in the last few weeks as we were absolutely determined to get there. It was something which hadn’t really crossed our minds until Norman noticed we were only £60,000 short.

“By the end of November we had managed to raise another £55,000 which left us only needing £5,000 in December, which we managed.”

Amongst the events the committee hosted in the past few months have been bag packing at both Tesco and the Co-op, a Christmas hamper and a Christmas Bake-Off event. There was a race night in the local Rangers Supporters Club to raise funds for Cancer Research and having done the sums it was confirmed that they had marched comfortably past the million mark.

Joan Stewart and Murdina Macdonald have both been involved with the Lewis branch since it’s formation 40 years ago, while most of the remaining committee members have amassed some 35 years experience.

“We never thought we would reach such an amount when we started,” admitted Joan. “When I think back to the struggles of the 70s and 80s it is amazing to think we have reached a million pounds.

“When we first started off there weren’t so many charities in Stornoway but there are quite a number now but people remain so generous.”

“The people of the islands have been so generous and last year we raised £16,000 in our house to house collections which is the most we have ever done,” conintued Kay.

“In 2014 the money we raised was the equivalent of every person on the Western Isles donating £4.

“We are quite overwhelmed to have managed to raise this much money on the isles and the mainland branch are amazed too.”

In 2016 the committee are taking a well earned break from fundraising for January before they begin working again in February.

On the forthcoming calendar are the popular light lunch, sale of work, Easter Hamper and the Women’s Cancer Challenge 5K run which orgainser Tony Wade is hoping to attract 1,000 runners to what will be the tenth anniversary of the race.

“We have a very good committee and a good mix of old and young amongst our number of around 30,” added a proud Kay.

“But we owe a huge thanks to everyone who has donated, supported or helped us over the years.

“And to all the local businesses throughout the years and the Nicolson Institute Interact Club who helped us reach this milestone.”