Bill Fortescue donations bring boost to good causes

THE eleventh hour addition to an already generous response that followed a request at a much-loved Caister man’s funeral has brought a big boost for three good causes.

When Bill Fortescue died from prostate cancer at the age of 79 late last year, friends and family of the leading Caister Carnival organiser were asked to eschew flowers and give what money they could in his memory.

Three months down the line – and thanks to an extra special donation at the last minute – his children have been able to give �3000 to the causes closest to their father’s heart.

On Thursday, Sue Bailey and her siblings Julie Andrews and Paul Fortescue, split the money and gave a �1000 each to charities Nelson’s Journey and Macmillan Cancer Support, the latter having provided care for Mr Fortescue.

The other recipient was Northgate Hospital GP Unit, where their father, who also ran the village’s youth club, was treated.

Sue, of Ormesby, said: “When our mother Patsy died in 2009 we did the same thing and raised �2000.

“But we didn’t expect to get as much again, let alone more.

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“It was overwhelming, to be honest, and when we handed over the cheques at Northgate GP Unit the nurses were all there that had cared for him and it was really quite emotional.”

The 52-year-old explained that the donations had come in from a range of sources including the local Lions Clubs, of which her father had been a highly active member, and former employers Chamberlins Solicitors.

However, there was one in particular that tipped the balance.

Sue, who had sent a letter out to the donors stating that �1999.97 had been raised, did not reckon on getting a last minute donation from someone who had been best man at her parent’s wedding.

And, having just returned from an operation for bowel cancer, he was ready to round the numbers up – by sending a cheque for �1000.03.

Sue, also part of the organising committee for the fundraising Relay for Life walk, added: “My jaw just dropped – he had already given two donations of �50 and �25!”

The GP unit will be able to use the money to buy an aid which helps people stand, the same equipment used by Mr Fortescue when it was on loan to the unit.

Nelson’s Journey, a charity, chosen by Mr Fortescue, supports young people affected by the death of a loved one, and will pay for a child to attend their summer camp.