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Builders in charity walk for fondly-remembered colleague

PUBLISHED: 16:00 03 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:03 01 July 2010

Matthew Sparkes

A group of 20 builders will be switching their safety boots for trainers and hiking around Norwich's ring road in memory of a close friend and colleague.

A group of 20 builders will be switching their safety boots for trainers and hiking around Norwich's ring road in memory of a close friend and colleague.

Paul Galley, a project manager with construction firm Kier Eastern, was diagnosed with bowel cancer late last year and passed away in March.

And now his colleagues are putting together a large team for the Starlight Walk to raise cash for Macmillan Cancer Support.

The charity walk will see entrants circle the city on the 13-mile ring road at midnight on June 18.

Every penny raised will go directly to the charity and be spent on making life easier for those in Norfolk suffering with cancer.

David Henry, senior contracts manager at the firm, said that Mr Galley, from Hopton on Sea, near Gorleston, was a well-liked member of staff who played for the company football team and helped to mentor his young colleagues.

“I can remember the first time I worked with Paul. He was a great bloke. Very genuine, very committed. 100pc reliable,” said Mr Henry. He was one of the good guys which makes it all the more sad.

“He's a great loss to the company. We wanted to do something as a mark of respect in memory of Paul.”

Friends of Mr Galley, who had been working most recently on the Open Academy on Marryat Road in Heartsease, decided to sign up for the charity walk as a group.

The fundraisers, who now include friends and family of the builders, will be wearing t-shirts with the Kier Eastern logo on the front and an image of Mr Galley on the back.

Mr Galley's wife, Jackie, said she was pleased with the idea and that he had a “great working relationship” with the men.

“He was a really great guy,” she said. “Everyone was quite shocked at how quickly it happened.”

Her husband had been suffering from stomach complaints but had not sought medical attention straight away.

Mr Galley, who was just 55 when he died, was told that by the time he was diagnosed his cancer had begun to spread to his liver and eventually his brain, and he lost his fight with the illness six months later.

Mrs Galley urged people in the same situation to get checked before it was too late.

“Don't leave it to the last minute. Do something about it,” she said.

She said that raising money for Macmillan was a priority because of the help they provided for her family.

During his final weeks he was allocated a Macmillan nurse, who Mrs Galley said was “excellent” and had provided great support to the whole family.

“He didn't want to talk about the illness. Paul didn't actually talk to the Macmillan nurse, but she made him feel at ease,” she said.

“They were then when it counted. I just could not fault them.”

Donations to Macmillan were asked for instead of flowers at the funeral, which raised £1,000 for the charity.

This was added to by more than £1,000 collected at SLP Engineering in Lowestoft where Mrs Galley works.

Mr Galley's two sons are also doing their bit for Macmillan, with Carl Pull taking part in a fun run in Hyde Park on fathers' day and Lee Pull helping to organise another in Beccles later this summer.

Are you taking part in the Starlight Walk? Tell us why by calling reporter Matthew Sparkes on 01603 772439, or by emailing matthew.sparkes@archant.co.uk.

For more information on the event or to register to take part, visit www.starlightwalknorwich.co.uk.

To see more coverage on the Starlight Walk, visit the Evening News mini-site at www.eveningnews24.co.uk/starlight

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