Friends inspired by the care their families received while battling cancer have proudly completed a year of fundraising events to thank two charities close to their hearts.

Charlie Barker and Leah Lindley decided to do their part for charity after Charlie’s dad, John Barker, was diagnosed with prostate cancer and Leah’s mum, Josie Lindley, suffered from breast cancer.

Leah Lindley and Charlie Barker

They have raised £1,232 to share amongst the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity and Weston Park Cancer Charity. Now all the donations have been collected.

Charlie, 32, of Dronfield, said:

“It’s been a challenging but rewarding year raising money for charity. But we feel there’s so much more we could do.

“The NHS is still supporting so many of our friends and family, which has inspired us to continue to fundraise again in future. Their battles with cancer have made us appreciate our mortality and how important the NHS is in caring for our loved ones when they need it most.

“Despite everything our families have been through, we have really enjoyed fundraising because it has given us something positive to focus on. We have very NHS-focused families – my mum was a nurse and my son Thomas is determined to be a paramedic when he grows up – so we feel really proud to have exceeded the £500 we hoped to raise.”

The pair raised the funds by hosting an 80s themed music and quiz night called ‘Electric Dreams’ at The Phoenix Pub in Ridgeway in November. Charlie, a professional singer and musician, entertained guests alongside 16-year-old Anya Mannion.

In June 2018 Charlie and her daring 11-year-old son, Thomas Barker-Reaney, spent nine hours climbing Snowdon in Wales, which at 3,560ft is the tallest mountain in England and Wales. The gruelling challenge helped boost their fundraising pot by £800.

Charlie Barker and Thomas, Snowdon

Charlie and Leah’s fundraising was supported by their colleagues at Sheffield-based H L Brown and Son Jewellers, where Charlie works as a photographer and Leah is a cleaner. The team hosted regular bake sales and raffles to help boost their fundraising.

Leah, 39, of Kimberworth in Rotherham, said:

“We’re so grateful to the NHS for caring for Charlie’s dad and my mum, who thankfully are now both in remission. This is our way of giving something back.

“We hope the money we have raised will help our chosen charities to continue to provide the added extras which really make a difference to their patients. Thank you to everyone who supported our fundraising, whether it was moral support for Charlie and Thomas before they climbed Snowdon or those who donated raffle prizes for our events – we couldn’t have done it without you.”

Thanks to generous donors and fundraisers, the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity raised £163,731 in 2017/18.

All the funds raised by the Charity help to purchase the added extras which the NHS is unable to afford, such as:

–       A birthing bed for the Midwifery department. The specialist bed enhances the experience and comfort of mothers who use the Trust’s birthing pool

–       Ward A2 at Rotherham Hospital has now been furnished with dementia-friendly calendars to help patients feel less anxious and more grounded during their hospital stay

–       Toys for the Children’s Ward and Urgent and Emergency Care Centre

–       Ceiling and wall murals at Rotherham Hospital, which when combined with specialist lighting, reflect a calming and cheerful glow

–       A Changing Places facility in reception at Rotherham Hospital for people with disabilities and additional care needs.

Barry Mellor, Chair of the Charitable Funds Committee, added:

“We are so proud to have amazing fundraisers like Leah, Charlie and Thomas who are daring enough to climb mountains and to organise fundraising events for their friends, family and colleagues to enjoy. Thank you to everyone who supported them.

“All the money raised will help us to make a real difference to the patients we care for in the community and at Rotherham Hospital and I’m sure they will inspire others to fundraise for the Charity in future.”

For more information about the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity please contact Suzanne Rutter, Charity Engagement and Development Manager, on 01709 426821 or via trft.charity@nhs.net.