Hospice hosts final meeting of Cancer Research Committee

17 October 2016

The final meeting of a committee set up in Wigan to raise money into cancer research and care has been held at Wigan and Leigh Hospice.

The Wigan and District Cancer Research Committee held its final meeting on Monday, October 10th at the Hospice which was one of the final two recipients of the final donations distributed by the committee.

Donations of £120,000 each were given by the group to the Hospice and the Cancer Care Centre at Wigan Infirmary in July 2015.

The Hospice used the funds, along with £160,000 funding from Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group and Wigan Council, towards launching our "Hospice In Your Care Home" project.

This service has been operating for almost a year offering training, support and role-modelling to staff in eight nursing homes across the Borough in order to build skills and confidence so they can deliver high quality end of life care to their residents.

The Committee was formed in April 1958 under the Presidency of the Mayor of Wigan at the time, Cllr Oliver Somers.

Since its inception almost 60 years ago the Committee has been served by volunteers who raised money through street collections, donations and legacies.

Prior to 1998 between £7,000 and £8,000 was donated every year to various organisations.

However, in 1988 one of the regular benefactors Joseph Starkey died at the age of 87 and left his estate of £928,000 to the Cancer Research Committee. Joseph Starkey's sister Alice made a significant contribution to this estate by leaving her brother money in her will.

The siblings' funds were invested wisely. So much so that during the subsequent years, £2.2 million was donated to Liverpool and Manchester Universities and other local projects including £75,000 to the Wigan CT scanner appeal and funding of a special palliative care nurse at Wigan and Leigh Hospice.

The majority funded research projects to seek cures for a range of cancer diagnoses including gynaecological cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and leukaemia.

As the funds available for distribution declined the Committee decided to wind up and donate the remaining funds to local good causes.

The contribution of Joseph and Alice Starkey will be recognised in the certificates presented to each nursing home at celebration events each year. Additionally, a room in the Hospice's Woodview Centre has been renamed 'The Starkey Room' and the story of the contribution made by Joseph Starkey and his sister feature alongside the room name.

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