REGULARS at a Calderdale pub are planning an autumn of fundraising in memory of a special friend.
Michael Clarke died in March at the age of 61 after undergoing surgery to remove cancer from his stomach, duodenum and pancreas.
With his wife Jan, he was a regular at the Pear Tree in Norwood Green and now the community-minded pub is pulling out all the stops to raise money for Yorkshire Cancer Research.
Jan, an administration manager, and her friends Andrea Beevers, a community matron, and Yvonne Matthews, licensee at the Pear Tree, have planned three events in November and December - a jewellery party, a car boot sale and a party night with live music and are hoping to raise hundreds of pounds for a worthy cause.
Michael, a warehouse manager of Bailiff Bridge, had bowel cancer three years ago which was treated successfully at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
“But he went back to work too early and developed a hernia which required another operation. Again he went back to work too early and then last year the cancer returned, this time in his duodenum. He was in a lot of pain and had to take time off work. But we managed to get away for a lovely holiday in Gran Granaria at Christmas which I am very grateful for,” said Jan.
In January Michael underwent Whipple surgery - named after the surgeon who pioneered the operation - at Bradford Royal Infirmary.
“It was a huge operation but the surgeons were optimistic of a successful outcome and we were very positive. However Mike just deteriorated over nine weeks and seemed to fade away. He never came home from hospital,” said Jan.
The couple had been married for five years. “Mike had a huge personality and he was liked by everyone - he is much missed,” said Jan.
Andrea and Yvonne hold annual fundraising activities at the Pear Tree and this year they are making an extra effort in Michael’s memory. Yvonne said: “We have fantastic support from our customers whenever we hold events for charity. Last year we raised more than £400 for Help for Heroes and we have also supported the British Heart Foundation. We have ongoing collections for Overgate Hospice and SCARD.”
Andrea said most people had friends, colleagues or acquaintances whose lives had been touched by cancer. “We have decided on Yorkshire Cancer Research because it is a local charity and the money raised will be spent in Yorkshire. When we were thinking of which charity to support this year, and knowing what had happened to Michael, we were keen to raise money for cancer research,” she said.
The planned events are: a jewellery party on Wednesday, November 9 at 7pm; a car boot sale with stalls and entertainment on Saturday, November 19 from 11am; and a party night with raffle, quiz and live music on Friday, December 9.
The three friends are now appealing for sponsorship in the form of donations for raffle prizes - particularly from shops and restaurants. “This is a worthy cause and we appreciate as much support as possible,” said Jan.
l Every penny raised by Yorkshire Cancer Research is spent in the region, helping people beat cancer and supporting world-class research and treatment.
l Anyone who can help with donations or support fundraising is asked to contact Yvonne Matthews on 07814 445759, Louise Dyson on 07818 050142 or the Pear Tree on 01274 676036.