Norwich businesses in �125,000 cancer charity pledge

Peter WalshA Norfolk cancer charity has been given a massive boost by businesses across the county who have pledged at least �125,000 to help those people struck down by the devastating disease.Peter Walsh

A Norfolk cancer charity has been given a massive boost by businesses across the county who have pledged at least �125,000 to help those people struck down by the devastating disease.

Twenty-five businesses in Norwich and Norfolk have vowed to raise �5,000 each for the Big C in this its 30th year - and the charity is looking for just five more to follow suit and help push past the �150,000 mark.

Business leaders who have already signed up to the scheme joined charity bosses at the Marriott Sprowston Manor Hotel and Country Club last nightto help launch a raffle for a new Subaru car - with all money raised going to the charity.

Sharon Hulbert, PR and corporate fundraising relations manager for the Big C, said the massive response from the business community in Norfolk had been fantastic.

She said: 'It will make such a difference. It helps the Big C get across the message that we're the local cancer charity for Norfolk and Waveney and that every penny that's raised by these businesses or these people is spent in Norfolk and Waveney.

'This isn't all the support we get, but it's a real help and it means we can do more of what we do.

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'It will allow us to get equipment for local hospitals - the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, the James Paget University Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

'It also enables us to fund and expand services from the Big C Centre at the N&N, gives us more money to allocate to research, but also enables us to grow and expand what support services are offered in Norfolk and Waveney both for patients and family members. It's all types of cancer and all stages of cancer.'

Mrs Hulbert said businesses who had pledged their support would also benefit from their investment.

She said: 'It's not just about thinking they've got to hand over a cheque, that's not what it's about. It's about involving employees, getting them to buy in and have fun. It's involving employees, it's good for team spirit and the ideas that are starting to flow have been brilliant.

'They can really make a difference and it's not just about helping other people - but potentially helping themselves and other family members in the future. That's what they're investing in.'

David Moar, who co-founded the charity in 1980 after winning his own battle with cancer, said he was very grateful for the way in which businesses in the county had answered the call for cash.

Mr Moar, who was made a MBE last year for his work in setting up and running the Big C and who is a business development manager for Anglia Farmers Limited, said: 'We've been amazed with the response we've had and it's been exciting to see so many people want to take part and help us - and from such a varied group across the business community.'

Companies who have vowed to raise cash for the charity in this anniversary year includes Swiss Re, Gordon Barber Funeral Home, Norfolk Contracts, a Norwich-based IT firm, Norse and the city's Chapelfield shopping centre which will be holding a charity caterpillar crawl and other events on Thursday between 11am and 4pm.

Former Norwich City goalkeeper and manager Bryan Gunn, who now works for the Digital Phone Company, said he was delighted to be supporting the charity.

Mr Gunn said: 'We look after IT support and mobile communications for the Big C so we signed up straight away. In February we had a hairy month where some of the directors in the business team were sporting beards for a month and raised about �1,500. We've also got a golf day coming up here (Sprowston Manor) on July 12.

'It's something as a company we're delighted to support and on a personal level I know a lot about the Big C and have supported it in the past.

'I think everyone has pledged to do the �5,000 and there's no reason why we can't go on and raise a little bit more. It's a fantastic charity in its 30th year, its local, and it's done a lot for the people of Norfolk. I know from my own charity, people like to see money going to local causes and benefit local people.'

John Hadcroft from Arnold's surveyors and estate agents in Norwich, said the company had pledged to help raise �5,000 throughout the year and staff were looking forward to finding different ways of reaching the target.

He said: 'We're delighted to be involved with that and help them out. Everyone knows someone who's got cancer or who has died from cancer. Arnolds is keen to be seen to be working with local charities and good causes.'

The Big C yesterday launched a raffle for a Subaru car which has been made possible by Dingles Subaru and Anglia Farmers Limited.

People need to buy a �10 ticket to have a chance of winning the car, which comes with three years full servicing. There will be just 5,000 tickets printed for the raffle which will be drawn at the Big C Ball at Sprowston Manor on October 16.

Mel Benns, director of sales at the hotel, which had also pledged to support the charity through various fundraising events, said: 'We've supported Big C this year because it's a local charity, we do support many local charities, but cancer has touched the lives of several of our friends in recent years and we think it's a good way of raising the profile.'

Over the past three decades the charity has raised more than �15m, set up six shops, funded important local research, and launched its own support centre in the grounds of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital following support from the Evening News's Opening the Door Appeal.

To find out more about the Big C or to pledge your support go to or call 01603 619900.

How has Big C helped you? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email

The Big C

The independent charity was started 30 years ago by David Moar and Clive Bamford. Both were cancer patients and both were forced to travel to London for treatment.

Mr Moar decided that he wanted to make sure that no one else in Norfolk would have to put up with such long and arduous journeys for treatment and so he and Mr Bamford set up the Big C one night while out for a drink.

With the support of the community the charity has helped to make a positive difference to the lives of cancer sufferers by funding equipment, specialist nurses, counselling services and research into various cancers.

Statistics show that one in three people will have cancer at some stage in their lives and all those involved with Big C are still determined that people in Norfolk and north Suffolk should have access to the very best treatment and care locally which is why they are now looking for help to raise many more millions.

In 2004 the Evening News launched its Opening the Door Appeal to help fund a family cancer information and support centre at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital - a dream which was finally realised in 2006.