Teams of runners and walkers from across Staffordshire took part in a series of festive dashes to raise money for The Christie charity in memory of a much loved mother. 

The idea of multiple festive dashes on the same day was the brainchild of Faye and Matthew Brown, in memory of Faye’s mum, Dianne. 

Dianne Horne was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2010, just weeks after Faye’s wedding and passed away in January last year, aged just 59.

And on Saturday 5 December, more than 50 people from across the region took part in either a 10K run or 5K walk for ‘Team Mince Pies’ and raised more than £3,000 in Dianne’s memory.

Faye, 34, who lives in Norton Green, Stoke with husband Matt and children, Hugo and Sienna, had planned to complete 9 charity challenges, including a marathon, for The Christie charity although several events had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Faye said: “We didn’t want to stop fundraising, so we just thought we’d try to drum up some support and Matt came up with this amazing idea. The response from our friends, family and colleagues has been amazing and we’ve had great fun doing it.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to everybody who took part and everybody who donated as it is very close to our hearts. My mum would have loved the idea of everybody taking part so it’s a big Christmas thank you to everybody.”

The Christie charity is currently supporting The Christie at Macclesfield centre which is due to open next year. The centre will transform cancer care in East Cheshire, providing care closer to home for more than 1,500 patients a year. Existing Christie patients from Cheshire, North Staffordshire and the High Peak area of Derbyshire will all benefit.

The new centre will also bring together essential cancer services into one purpose-built unit delivering local specialist access to radiotherapy, chemotherapy, holistic support and information services, outpatient care, palliative care and a wider range of clinical trials.

Anna McIntosh, from The Christie charity, said: “We’re absolutely delighted at the innovation and support of fundraisers like Team Mince Pies and we cannot thank them enough. 

“It’s been a year in which lots of our supporters have been hit hard by having their events cancelled due to COVID-19 so to see these amazing people going the extra mile for us is incredible. We can’t thank them enough.” 

The Christie charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust providing enhanced services over and above what the NHS funds. This includes money for care and treatment, research, education and extra patient services. Gifts from the public make a huge difference to the care and treatment that The Christie is able to provide to patients and their families. 

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust was the first specialist trust to be rated as ‘Outstanding’ twice (in 2016 and 2018) by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It referred to The Christie as ‘a leader in cancer care’ and ‘a pioneer in developing innovative solutions to cancer care.’ The CQC praised the Trust’s staff which it said ‘go the extra mile to meet the needs of patients and their families’ and that they were ‘exceptionally kind and caring.’ In 2017, the CQC rated The Christie as the best specialist trust in the country, and one of the top three trusts overall in England.