It was the year that Take That split up and Terry Venables resigned as England Football manager after the European championships – unfortunately, football did not come home that year.
However, in Macclesfield, a new fundraising group was being formed to support the life changing and potentially life-saving work of The Christie.
In August 1996 ‘The Christie appeal in Macclesfield’ or CAM was formed to help boost fundraising for one of Europe’s leading cancer centres, The Christie.
Since then, the group has raised a staggering £600,000 donated by the generous people of Macclesfield and surrounding districts and also smashed a world record too!
The group was formed by several like minded people, who had all been touched by cancer, and who were all united in their desire to support the work of The Christie. Within just six months the group had already raised £1,000 but the best was yet to come.
The original CAM committee included Brian Robinson, Toni Watkins, Polly Butterworth and Jane Pomfrett. Sadly many members of the original committee have passed away but others continue to support the group’s fundraising especially Richard and Carol Tonge, Ian Ashcroft and Sue Winder.
The current treasurer of the group, David Hollin, joined the new group in 1998. He recalls how his friends Richard and Carol Tonge persuaded him to join the group.
“Both Richard and Carol Tonge were successfully overcoming cancers. Carol had fought off the disease first in 1994/95 and less than a year later Richard had to face his own battle in 1995/96. Both were treated at The Christie with chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment with the same 12 month time frame.
“They were both so impressed with the treatment they received that they wanted passionately to give something back and cajoled their friends to join the fundraising group and to support a wide range of fundraising activities throughout the year. Richard and Carol were both so positive and enthusiastic that it was impossible to say no.
“In the early days, we did numerous gigs and functions. I'm sure people of a certain age will remember ‘The Screaming Beavers’ who were folklore in the Macclesfield area and very supportive of our fundraising.
“One of our most ambitious fundraising activities was a sponsored attempt to break the Guinness Book of Records entry for the greatest number of different modes of transport used over a 24 hour timescale. It was organised by Richard and others. The rules were simple – on each mode of transport, the same person had to travel a quarter of a mile on land, sea or air.
“We enlisted the support of cricketer Ashley Myerscough from Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club who successfully travelled the length and breadth of Cheshire and Greater Manchester to achieve more than 100 different modes of transport from Pogo sticks and beach balls to a Formula 1 car and a helicopter to name but a few.
“And to our delight, by the end of the day, we had succeeded in setting a new world record. The day was so much fun and took a huge amount of organising – gaining the support of local councils, British Aerospace, North West Water, farmers and golf clubs amongst others. The record attempt was exceptionally well supported in the local community and remains one of the most successful fundraising events we did.”
For more than 20 years CAM has done just about everything it is possible to do to fundraise including street and store collections, quiz nights, balls, disco and theme nights, fashion shows, collection tins, Christmas card sales, golfing events, sponsored walks, runs, swims and cycling events.
Dave added: "Particular praise must go to the Kings School in Macclesfield, its annual fashion show where teachers and students strut their stuff on the catwalk is one of the highlights of the year. The Grosvenor Centre in Macclesfield has been very supportive of our work and the charity dance nights arranged by The Mykita School of Dance are always popular
“Most of all though, I want to thank the generous people of Macclesfield, and the surrounding districts, who continue to donate to our cause. We are extremely grateful.”
“The present committee is Vicky Bissett (Chairperson), David Hollin (Treasurer), Sue Winder (Secretary), Anne Bruce, Liz Mcmillan and Ruth Thomason. All have given numerous years of dedicated fundraising to The Christie, plus an army of supporters who give us a few hours each on collection days.”
To find out more about The Christie at Macclesfield appeal and the ways you can support it please contact The Christie charity on 0161 446 3988 or visit www.christies.org/macclesfield