Norfolk woman helps charity following husband's death

Peter WalshA widow has honoured the memory of her husband by helping others after she agreed to donate money collected at his funeral to a new Norfolk charity for male cancers.Peter Walsh

A widow has honoured the memory of her husband by helping others after she agreed to donate money collected at his funeral to a new Norfolk charity for male cancers.

Gerry Davies was diagnosed with cancer in July last year, but the disease spread rapidly and the 66-year-old from Horsford lost his brave battle on December 13 at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

A funeral service for Mr Davies, a former sub-mariner who worked in the glass industry in Norwich for 25 years, was held at All Saints' Church, Horsford on December 19.

Following her husband's death his wife Jane, 52, discovered prostate cancer survivor Mel Lacey was trying to start a charity aimed exclusively at male cancers after he won his battle with the disease.

Mr Lacey, a freelance media solutions consultant, wanted to launch a Blue Ribbon Foundation (BRF) for men to emulate the work the Pink Ribbon Foundation had done for women in their battle against cancer - but needed between �5,000 and 10,000 to get it started.

After reading about Mr Lacey's charity bid in the Evening News, Mrs Davies decided to donate money collected at her husband's funeral to the charity.

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She said: 'I think a lot has been done for women with the Pink Ribbon Foundation and thought it was such a good idea to have something for men.

'Although Gerry didn't have an exclusively male cancer, lung cancer is still predominately male. We all know men are very bad at presenting with their symptoms - that's the problem. It's a good thing to support.'

Mrs Davies, who has a son Jeremy, 23, daughter Sarah, 20, and stepson Justin, 38, said the funeral was very well attended and money from that, as well as money raised by her husband's work colleagues, which came to about �500, was sent to the charity.

She said she hoped the contribution would help honour the memory of her husband, who she described as an 'honest and hard-working' man.

'He was just a normal, kind sort of man that these things tend to happen unfortunately. He liked his football, his cricket, and his sport and had a great sense of humour - that's the main thing people will remember him for.

'He came from Burton-on-Trent and he enjoyed a glass of beer and liked the simple things in life. He liked to travel and we travelled a lot to Italy and France.'

Mr Lacey, who knows Mrs Davies' son Jeremy from watching Norwich City, said he was 'stunned' and 'humbled'.

He said: 'They lost a loved one yet wanted to seize that moment to help other people. That's what the aim of the BRF will be - to help other people. And in their moment of sorrow they took the time to think about other people and to want other people to benefit.

'It was just a wonderful gesture and it made me realise that this is for real - I've got to make this work.'

� A concert is to be held at the University of East Anglia's LCR on Friday, April 16 from 7.30pm in aid of the BRF with Hollow Earth and The Harvs appearing live. Every penny from the event will be donated to the launch of the charity.

� Tickets are �10 from the UEA box office on 01603 508050 or from Mel Lacey by email at

� Are you raising money in memory of a loved one or friend? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 7772436 or email peter.walsh@