Queen honours Polegate cancer charity

Chris Downton and his wife Ursula at a Buckingham Palace garden party
Chris Downton and his wife Ursula at a Buckingham Palace garden party

The Children with Cancer Fund, the Polegate based charity which has been helping families who have a child with cancer for 17 years, has received one of the highest accolades to volunteers – the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The award recognised the outstanding work done by local volunteer groups in their communnities.

It’s the equivalent of an MBE, and was created by the Queen in 2002 to celebrate her Golden Jubilee.

Chris Downton, chairman and one of the founders of the charity said, “It’s fantastic to have been recognised and we really appreciate the award. We are extremely grateful to everyone who has helped us over the years and to all ‘our families’ who have allowed us into their lives at immensely difficult times – you are amazing and truly inspirational and this award is for all of you too.”

The Children With Cancer Fund was founded in 1998 and has steadily grown.

Over the years, it has helped hundreds of families in East Sussex, Brighton and Hove, as well as letting cancer families from all over the country use its caravans for holiday breaks.

The charity also supported the building of family rooms within the Eastbourne and Hastings hospitals, allowing families to stay together during isolation treatment.

It has also helped with the purchase of a new mini bus for children with cancer and their siblings to go out on respite trips.

Individual wishes and group events have been organised, giving families going through cancer a way of meeting up with other local families going through the same treatment, but in a more relaxed environment. Chris said, “Funding is also a very important part of the charity and as we have got larger we now need staff to help us run the charity. We are always looking for support from individuals, groups and companies. They can donate either via the web site www.childrenwithcancerfund.org.uk or regularly through the bank. We can help so many with just a little financial help from others.”

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Committee chair, former broadcast journalist Martyn Lewis CBE said, “I warmly congratulate all of the inspirational voluntary groups rewarded for community work with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The judging panel for this year’s awards were struck by the quality and breadth of all the successful groups.

“The thousands of volunteers who give up spare time to help others in their community and to help solve problems demonstrate the best of democracy in action.”

Although the charity is allowed to use and promote the fact it has been given the award, the official presentation is in July at Herstmonceux Castle, when the Lord Lieutenant of Sussex will represent the Queen and present a certificate signed by the Queen and an exclusive commemorative crystal.

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