VOLUNTEERS running a Derbyshire charity which has raised thousands of pounds to help local people with cancer and their families have decided to call it a day after nearly 10 years.
Annabel’s Angels, which was set up in 2014, will transfer its assets over to the Derby & Burton Hospitals Charity at the end of the year after its trustees agreed unanimously to wind down its fundraising activities.
The charity has helped more than 600 families across Derby and Derbyshire over the past nine years by awarding grants to pay for essential items such as transport, white goods, food and clothing following a diagnosis of cancer.
The vast majority of its money was collected through donations and fundraising events such as sponsored cycling and running events, including the annual Derby 10 Mile race.
It currently hands out grants of at least £250 to families who may be struggling to make ends meet following a cancer diagnosis, with the vast majority of its referrals coming from the MacMillan Cancer Information Centres at the Derby Royal Hospital and Burton’s Queen’s Hospital.
The organisations have developed a close working relationship over the years, which is why the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Trust’s own charity has agreed to take on Annabel’s Angels’ funds to continue its all-important work.
Derby dad-of-two Simon Hancox set up Annabel’s Angels following the death of his wife, Annabel, from cancer in 2013 after he discovered that she had built up a network of friends online and was supporting them through their own cancer journeys.
Along with Annabel’s friends, he used her work as a springboard to help other families, getting friends and relatives involved in launching the charity, which he headed until handing over the reins to current charity chair Rachel Hayward last year.
“I could never have imagined when I started what Annabel’s Angels would go on to achieve and we can all look back on the past nine years with a huge sense of gratitude and awe.
“Cancer has a devastating effect on everyone it touches, including blameless families who are left struggling when their income drops because of a diagnosis, and we know how much impact our grants have made.
“I am hugely indebted to all of our trustees, our volunteers and anyone who has ever donated money or time to Annabel’s Angels. They’ve helped thousands of people realise they are not alone and given them crucial support when they needed it the most.”
The official handover is expected to take place next month, although Simon and members of the charity are hoping to run the Available Car Derby 10 Mile race on November 19, with volunteers handing out bottles of water to runners midway around the course.
Rachel, who also owns Derby bid-writing firm Ask the Chameleon, said:
“Running a charity of this nature is incredibly complex and takes up a lot of our volunteers’ time, and while it was an incredibly difficult decision, we felt our hard-working team had taken the charity as far as they could.
“Every penny we have ever raised has gone to our families and we are happy in the knowledge that the funds will continue to meet the demand from more families living with cancer.
“We are delighted and grateful that the team at the Derby & Burton Hospitals Charity have agreed to continue our work and we’re looking forward to coming together one last time at the Available Car Derby 10 Mile Race.”
Jill Matthews, chief officer for the Derby & Burton Hospitals Charity, said the charity’s current assets will be transferred into a new fund, called the Annabel’s Angels Fund, which will start handing out grants next year.
“We are delighted to continue Annabel’s legacy and the great work of the charity’s trustees and fundraisers.
“I want to thank everyone involved for their tremendous efforts to support this cause and especially Rachel and Simon for their dedication and compassion for families at some of the most difficult times.”
To find out more about Annabel’s Angels, please visit: www.annabelsangels.co.uk.