Good neighbours help out St Andrews charity

Pupils from Madras College, who organised the fundraising events on behalf of the AICR charity
Pupils from Madras College, who organised the fundraising events on behalf of the AICR charity

A WORLDWIDE cancer charity, which has its headquarters in St Andrews, has received a cash boost from some of its next-door neighbours - pupils at the town’s secondary school.

The teenagers from Madras College - Cameron MacKay (16), Matthew O’Donnell (17), Andrew Smith (17), Dana Druka (17), Sian MacFarlane (16), Alice Dearle (16) and Caitlin Stuart-Delavaine (16) - decided to do their bit to raise money for the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR), after Cameron’s extremely positive work experience there.

Based at Madras House, AICR awards grants to the best research projects wherever in the world they are taking place, but receives no government funding. To be able to continue its vital work, the charity relies heavily on fundraisers like the youngsters.

The students organised several events, including sales of baking in the senior school, hosted a lunchtime open mic session in the assembly hall, busked around the town, funded a stall at a coffee morning in Newport and sold jewellery the girls had made and also offered body painting - and even swept the courts at Newport Tennis Club.

Their enterprise paid off and, during a special ceremony, they handed over a cheque for £250 to the charity when they visited Madras House.

Suzanne Shaw, the charity’s fundraising and events’ supervisor, was delighted to accept the money and gave the pupils a tour of the AICR headquarters.

She told the Citizen: ”Every year, AICR awards grants totalling millions of pounds to scientists carrying out vital cancer research all over the world. Sadly, for every project we can afford to fund, there is another, equally deserving, which we cannot.

“Fundraising initiatives like those of Cameron and his friends bring the day when we can afford to support more vital research a little bit closer and we would like to say a big thank you to them for their efforts.”

Cameron added: “I, and I’m sure the rest of the group would agree, think it’s very good for the local community to have AICR based here. There are so many opportunities to do fundraising work, as we found, and a lot of scientific research work going on.”

AICR currently funds 201 active projects - 84 in the UK and 117 overseas - focusing on 19 different cancer types, but specifically prostate and bowel cancer projects. The cost of this research is £38,873,727.

In the 32 years since AICR was established in St Andrews, its overall spend on research is £150,628,908, on 1837 projects throughout 32 different countries.

Anyone wishing to find out more about AICR and how to fundraise should visit www.aicr.org.uk, telephone 01334 477910, email enquiries@aicr.org.uk or pop into the office at Madras House, South Street, St Andrews.