Fermanagh fundraising friends

494. Avril Graham (Fermanagh)
495. Jim Gamble (Fermanagh)

A Fermanagh-based duo have raised over £500,000 for local charity Friends of the Cancer Centre and changed the lives of thousands of local cancer patients.

Jim Gamble, 70, and Avril Graham, 70, have led on fundraising efforts in Fermanagh over the last 30 years for Friends of the Cancer Centre. Since the founding of the charity, which funds life saving and life changing projects for local cancer patients, the duo have raised a staggering £500,000.

Jim and Avril first started fundraising independently in 1979, to help raise money for a new MRI scanner specifically for cancer patients. Due to the success of their fundraising, Jim and Avril joined forces and have been raising money and brand awareness for Friends of the Cancer Centre together ever since. Jim and Avril, in recognition of their dedication to Friends of the Cancer Centre, are also both trustees of the charity.

Over the past 30 years, Jim and Avril, with the vital support of members of the Fermanagh fundraising group, have organised many fundraising activities including bag packing in supermarkets and street collections. One of the most notable events the pair have organised is the annual country music festival in Enniskillen. This festival, which has been running for several years, is the highlight of the social calendar attracting hundreds of people a year.

As well as raising funds for Friends of the Cancer Centre, Jim and Avril have also increased awareness of the charity in the local community. Due to the Headquarters of Friends of the Cancer Centre being based 80 miles away from Fermanagh, Jim and Avril have worked tirelessly to ensure the whole community are aware of the great work the charity does for local patients. Jim and Avril have achieved this through delivering leaflets and helping to secure support from local businesses.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Jim and Avril have worked tirelessly for three decades to support their local cancer centre at Belfast City Hospital. From street collections and auctions to bag packing events in supermarkets and music nights, you have helped to raise over half a million pounds. Jim and Avril’s contribution has made a huge difference to the lives of cancer patients in Belfast and beyond and I am delighted to recognise them both as Points of Light.”

Jim and Avril said:

“We are absolutely honoured to receive the Points of Light Award by Prime Minister David Cameron. We have been dedicated to supporting Friends of the Cancer Centre for over 30 years and the charity has become a big part of our lives. We see first-hand how our support is making a difference to the lives of local people affected by cancer and that is a real inspiration and encourages us to do even more. Much of what we have been able to achieve is thanks to the generosity of the public and in particular the people of Fermanagh where we live. We can’t do any of it on our own and every penny raised for the charity comes from our community and we would like to dedicate and share the award with them.”

Local MP, Tom Elliot said:

“Avril Graham and Jim Gamble have often been described as an ‘Institution’ within the area for their fundraising work. Their work has provided much hope and support for many within the local area who are affected by Cancer, when they witness the good work that Avril and Jim do to provide that help for them, even if that is in an indirect way.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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