Cancer patient uses 'sponsored chemo' appeal to help fund vital church repairs
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
A DALE cancer patient is using his treatment to help raise thousands of pounds to fund urgent repairs at his local village church.
Dave Bottoms is treasurer for the parochial church council at St Mary’s, Hutton Magna, which has launched an appeal to raise £40,000 to carry out repairs to the historic building, parts of which date back to the 13th century.
Mr Bottoms (pictured right) was diagnosed with thyroid cancer four years ago and has been undergoing treatment since.
The grandfather of four has just started a new four-month course of chemotherapy at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital and decided to ask family, friends and supporters if they would sponsor his treatment to raise money for the church appeal. He admitted it was a “quirky” request, but said he wanted something good to come out of his ongoing battle against cancer.
Mr Bottoms said the church was important to him, wife Ally, and the rest of his family.
He said St Mary's was a special place in terms of the village heritage, as a place of worship, as the village war memorial and as a focal point for community activities, especially during the pandemic.
The churchyard is an important final resting place for previous generations from Hutton Magna and the surrounding area, including its war graves. Such heritage needs preserving, he added.
He set up an online Crowdfunder page and within days had reached the £1,000 target he had set. The current total raised is almost £2,800 and with further pledges to come and Gift Aid to be added, Mr Bottoms hopes to top £5,000 by the time the Crowdfunder project ends on December 19.
“I would like to thank everyone enormously for all the donations that have come in either via the Crowdfunder page or through the door,” he said. “I also want to say a special thank you for all the messages of support I have received. My first chemo treatment was last Monday and I have five more to go in the coming weeks and months.”
Mr Bottoms said he was hopeful repairs could be carried out to St Mary’s next summer, if funding can be secured.
“As a small church, we have limited reserves but have £4,000 that we have committed to supplying. With the Crowdfunder appeal too, and some funding promised from our local councillors, we have now got pledges of over £14,000”. To contribute, visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/chemotherapy-sponsorship--church-roof-fund.