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CancerCare lottery is a worthy gamble for Beryl

Beryl Gaitskell Barrow CancerCare Canvasser

[B]eryl Gaitskell knows more than most how CancerCare’s services can make a difference to people facing cancer or a life-limiting health condition.

Beryl, who cared for her beloved husband Bill when he was living with multiple sclerosis (MS), says she would have appreciated CancerCare’s services if they had been available at that time.

As CancerCare’s new lottery canvasser in Barrow and across the Furness Peninsula, Beryl often meets people who are coping with serious health conditions.

CancerCare has a new centre at the Trinity Church Centre in Barrow and the CancerCare Lottery has recently been launched in the area to help raise funds for people with cancer and conditions such as MS and Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

The charity has been running its lottery in North Lancashire and the South Lakes for more than 20 years and Beryl is the first person to be canvassing in Barrow and across the Furness Peninsula.

Beryl, who has lived in Dalton for 25 years and in Barrow before that, said people are very supportive of CancerCare and its lottery.

She said: “I think cancer affects almost every family in some way.  Everyone knows someone who has had it.”

Beryl did fundraising for the RNIB for a number of years, worked in Boots in Barrow for 17 years and had various other jobs.

Her husband Bill was well known in Barrow and worked for Norweb for many years as a jointer doing cable work.

Beryl said: “I enjoy my new job. I think when people hear that we are offering free support to local families with a cancer diagnosis and also to people with life-limiting conditions such as MS and motor neurone disease, they really want to help.

“I think it’s great that CancerCare is now in the Barrow area. I wish I’d had that when Bill was unwell.

“Bill was diagnosed with MS when he was only 50 years old. He coped very well with it and he was determined to get around. It would have made a difference to have had support from a charity like CancerCare.

“It would have helped me because I could have talked to a professional counsellor about it. I think Bill might have liked the support too.”

Bill passed away four years ago on the couple’s 30th wedding anniversary. Beryl has many happy memories of Bill with his cats, working on the house in Dalton and walking by the canal feeding the ducks.

In her new role as a canvasser Beryl will be covering areas including Barrow, Dalton, Ulverston, Swarthmoor, Lindale, Marton, Rampside, Roa Island and many more.

Beryl added: “People have been lovely. One man said: ‘Here you go lass’ and handed me a punnet of strawberries from his garden!”

The CancerCare Lottery is £4.34 per month for one number or £8.68 per month for two numbers each week.

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