Sunday, 14 April 2024
Sunday, 14 April 2024

Community rallies to raise money in memory of young man

THE family and friends of a young man who died of a brain tumour have so far raised over £36,000 for charity – and are set to raise much more this year.

Dave and Sue Roberts have paid tribute to the support they have received, and kind donations given, in memory of their son Will – affectionately known as Choc due to his love of chocolate – who passed away aged 26 in December 2022.

More than £8,000 was collected at his funeral last year and Will’s friends and family have since held a lunch and auction, a tractor run, a bonfire night and ‘Choc’s Rugby Challenge’ to raise money. Most of the donations have been handed to Lingen Davies Cancer Fund, the region’s primary cancer charity which supports those impacted by cancer throughout Shropshire and Mid Wales. The charity, which also works to spread awareness about cancer in the wider community, supported Will and his family over his six-and-a-half years of treatment and beyond. Donations have also been handed to Brain Tumour Support and Prostate Cancer.

Dave said:

“Losing a child is the worst possible thing ever, but we just felt we had such good care and we feel as if we want to put something back in. As parents you want the best for your children and we had that, we know the hospital and everyone did everything they could for Will.

“We have so much to be grateful for – from Shrewsbury to Stoke and everywhere in between – so the collection started with the funeral donations. The support we have had from such a wide bunch of people is unbelievable, we enjoy it and it lets you give something back, it gives you the incentive to carry on.

“Will left his mark, he was a brilliant organiser so this is great to do in his memory.”

Dave and Sue said they never dreamed they would raise this much money and they could never have done it on their own, being supported by many different groups of ‘wonderful people’.

He said one group which has been ‘behind us every step of the way’ is the Whittington and Oswestry Young Farmers – which Will was Chairman of for three years. The Young Farmers will hold an 80th-anniversary celebration at the family’s Pennant Farm near Gobowen in north Shropshire in June – then the marquee will be kept on for another charity event the following week.

Whittington and Oswestry YFC were also the group behind the charity rugby game, a F1 themed float at last year’s Shropshire Show, dedicated to Will who was a big F1 fan, and the hugely successful illuminated tractor run through Oswestry in December.

The event raised more than £12,000 alone – £4,000 of which was collected by people shaking buckets in villages on the night.

Dave said:

“The tractor run will be back this year, it will continue for as long as I’m on this planet.

“It was brilliant, unbelievable, the turnout was mind-blowing – to see all those people, every layby, every place people could stand, there were just people everywhere! Mike Lade did a fantastic job of arranging it and promoting it, it was poignant for us and to see it bring smiles to so many faces was fantastic.

“There was a video posted on social media of a lady filming in her window talking to her son next to her, she saw a tractor with Choc on it and said it was for the farmer who passed away – that is what we set out to do, someone in the middle of Oswestry who wouldn’t have known Will from anybody knew what that tractor run was about.

“It hit home, everything we set out to do, they didn’t just see it as a fun tractor run, they knew why.”

Another moment Dave remembers from the run was when they travelled through Ruyton XI Towns and saw a child with lights all over his pedal tractor – he was inspired and hopes this year’s event will include a mini tractor run for kids with pedal vehicles, on a circuit around the cattle market.

Other events included a lunch and auction in August, held in a marquee kindly donated by family friends after their daughter’s wedding, which raised £12,000. At Will’s funeral, the £8,000 raised was split between Lingen Davies and Brain Tumour Support, a charity chosen by Di Evanson who is a rare tumour specialist nurse in the Oncology Department at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, and who has become a family friend since she treated Will like another son.

Brain Tumour Support has spent the donation on providing talking groups for people affected by brain tumours in Shrewsbury and Dave said he was very happy that all money raised has stayed and been spent in the county.

In total, the Roberts’ and their friends have donated £23,000 to Lingen Davies since Will’s death. Helen Knight, head of fundraising for the charity, said the fabulous amount raised was a testament to how much the Roberts family meant to the whole community, and how much Will meant to those around him.

Dave concluded:

“I know how much the support received by the Roberts family during Will’s treatment meant to them and have had the pleasure of working with the family myself and getting to know them. The Roberts family and their wider circle of family and friends have become a much-valued part of the wider Lingen Davies community and we are proud to support them.

“This incredible amount raised for all these deserving charities shows just how much care there was and is for Will and his family. We are tremendously grateful for this donation which will go towards vital services for those affected by cancer and we look forward to continuing to support the family.”

For more information about how you can donate visit the website: www.lingendavies.co.uk.

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