A cancer charity has been guaranteed at least £500 from a Shaftesbury fundraiser after the Town Council waived Town Hall hire costs and made a significant donation.
Since 1991, Macmillan supporters have held the annual ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’ in private homes or workplaces across the country. Last year the event raised almost £30m to support and provide information for people with cancer.
Deputy Mayor Lester Taylor felt that the Town Council should back the event by hosting the Shaftesbury Macmillan coffee morning on 28th September. “This is an easy thing for us to do to make a big impact on the people who suffer from cancer and really help them,” Lester said.
“It’s not about the Council and it is not about me,” Lester added. “It’s all about the town and its about us getting together. It’s the old adage, ‘let’s pay this forward.’ There are 200 different forms of cancer and they all have different effects or different treatments. If the doctor told me I had it then I think that I would go deaf for about ten seconds trying to work out what’s going on. You probably won’t take it all in. Macmillan can sit down with you and provide support. There’s a telephone helpline. It’s brilliant. We should be giving them all the support that they need,” he said.
Lester said that he has been impressed with what he has learned about the Macmillan charity. “It is not just about talking or having a shoulder to cry on. They can give you financial advice and they can take you through the whole process in a calm and logical manner. They can help you through this really awful phase in your life,” he added.
At first, Lester considered putting on his own event. “I thought that I would have a coffee morning in my house and invite my friends. Then I realised there would be a few more people around town who might do the same. We have a big Town Hall that could be used and councillors are supportive of this kind of thing. So I took it to the Council and they grabbed it with open arms. We are giving the hall for free and seedfunding the coffee morning with £500 of Council money.”
Lester said he is keen to hear from volunteers who can help on the day. “It just takes a bit of will from a few people – volunteers – to come and make it work, but the event is not just about putting on a coffee morning.” Lester said that spreading the message about Macmillan is important. “We’re looking to have information in the hall. There are people who might not have heard of Macmillan or who have heard of the organisation but who are unsure about what it does. Not everybody is on the internet. It would be good if people could learn about Macmillan in case they have friends or relations who could benefit from them.”
If the coffee morning works well, Lester believes that there is potential for the Council to support this fundraiser in the future. “Maybe it would be nice to have this as our annual event. The Mayor gets to choose their own charity each year, but this could be the Town Council’s event, if it so wishes.” Councillors voted to divert cash from the Town Council’s hospitality fund into this event.
During the Council meeting, Mayor Piers Brown offered to bake a cake, and whether he was serious or joking, Lester said he’ll hold his colleague to it. “He will make a cake. I’m not a dab hand at making cakes but I can buy them. It would be nice to have home-made cakes because it is about the community so I shall be pushing the other councillors.”
Lester said that he has a financial goal for the fundraiser. “I’d like to see in the region of £2,000. I think that’s achievable. If we get more, that would be fantastic, but it is down to the people of Shaftesbury,” Lester said.
The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning will be held in Shaftesbury Town Hall on Friday 28th September between 10am and 12 midday.