THE Hambledon Village Dance, a sell-out event at the Village Hall on December 9, raised a record £1,250 for local cancer charity KatCanDo.
This year’s party was organised by Mike Blanchard, keyboard player with the band Toxic Sausage. Mike, who lives in the village, wanted the dance to raise money in memory of Pat Hill, a friend and Merry Harriers regular who died earlier this year from complications from blood cancer.
Mike also wanted to mark the successful surgery at the Royal Surrey County Hospital received by Stewart Payne, Hambledon resident and friend of Pat’s, who was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer last year.
KatCanDo, which is run entirely by volunteers, raises money for the purchase of cancer-related equipment at local hospitals and hospices. It was set up in 2004 by Kate Coles, a friend of Stewart’s, who was suffering from bowel cancer and who overheard one of her specialists complaining that a piece of equipment that would be beneficial to sufferers was not available on the NHS budget.
With the support of friends Kate set up KatCanDo, a registered charity, with the express purpose of working with cancer care specialists to provide much-needed equipment at the Royal Surrey and Frimley Park hospitals and to aid cancer sufferers in local hospices.
Kate lost her battle with cancer in 2006 but her friends have kept the charity going and it has donated more than £300,000 to help the fight against the disease.
Stewart suggested to Mike that KatCanDo would be a worthwhile cause to donate the money to, and he agreed.
The dance was a big success, with Toxic Sausage belting out music that kept the dance floor packed.
Mike took it upon himself to organise this year’s dance, booking the hall, selling the tickets and taking no fee for performing. Well known around the village as Big Mike, he also has a big heart, and his kindness and hard work is much appreciated. Pat’s sons James and Jono attended the dance and were delighted and touched by the level of support. Thanks also go to Brigitte Coleman for the buffet and to the volunteers who ran the bar.
Toxic Sausage have a big following in Hambledon and will be appearing again at the Village Ball on June 23rd as part of the 2018 Midsummer Festival weekend.
If you would like to know more about the work of KatCanDo please visit www.katcando.org.uk.