It was a dark and stormy day…

Well it’s a start isn’t it!  Seriously the object of this article is to inform and thank the personnel of DSS, and TMF as a whole, for their generosity in donating a total of £320 to PACT.

Who are PACT?

PACT (Parents’ Association of Children with Tumours and Leukaemia) was founded in 1977 – with a donation of £113 – when eight parents created a support group for families whose children had cancer.  PACT started raising funds for a Christmas party and a summer trip for the children.  The charity expanded its remit to include children with leukaemia in 1978 and, as funds were secured, services grew to include new ideas like the provision of equipment and facilities for families.  In 1977 a child with cancer had a 55% chance of being alive 10 years after diagnosis. Today that chance has improved to more than 75%. However the cost of this is often prolonged and intensive treatment and sadly this is not always successful.  PACT continues to be an invaluable source of both practical and emotional support for children and their families throughout their contact with the oncology unit.  PACT provides a range of support services for families whose children have been diagnosed with cancer.  They run two caravans – one in Filey for children who are ‘on’ treatment and unable to travel far and one in Berwick-on-Tweed for the use of families who are ‘off’ treatment.  These facilities provide a welcome opportunity for a holiday break and some quality family time.

They also run a house in Sheffield right next to the Sheffield Children’s Hospital.  Some of the money they raise is allocated to research; more equipment has been provided, along with financial assistance to fund a ‘research worker’ in support of the highly-specialised doctors and nurses who are dedicated to the care of these families.



This is where it gets closer to home; the daughter of one of our merry gang has been diagnosed with a brain tumour and so, as the old adage goes, ‘Charity begins at home’.


Where and how was the money raised?

A great deal of the money raised was from ‘fines’.  ‘Fines?’  Yes fines!  Picture the scene, Thursday 19 Apr 12 – The ‘Old Folks Home’ (AKA The WOs’ & Sgts’ Mess), most of the RAF Management and a BAE Systems representative met up to say a fond farewell to three of their merry (?) band of brothers in ‘the Mess’.  The theme for the day was ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (well it was ANZAC day – look it up!) and so various states of dress were seen (I’m still trying to get over FS John Kemsley in sparkly red DMS shoes – seriously the Mess staff are still cleaning up the ‘fairy dust’ and he claims to be a ‘Heavy’, the secret is out now John).  The afternoon’s entertainment was opened by a self proclaimed ‘Fascist bully boy’
(WO Pete Mason), who chaired the function, informing all that there would be fines for all misdemeanours and then went on to fine himself for being ‘loud’ and the rest of the ‘top table’ for being ‘elitist’.  As you can imagine as the day went on the fines flowed or was that the wines?  Anyway, all fines were either 50p or £1 and taking the spirit of ‘stitch someone before they get you’ a total of £240 was raised on the day, not bad considering there was only 33 of us.  Following on from this was the ‘DSS Beer Call and farewell function’ for SAC(T) Dale Wheildon (who has gone to the RAF of yesteryear, he’s not dead, he joined BBMF!) which raised an excellent £80 on the night and a big thank you to all who put their hands in pocket.

…and they lived happily ever after.  Well I’d like to end like that but I’m afraid Cancer just won’t go away and so we may be after your money again soon.  Seriously, once again many thanks for your outstanding generosity, you have made a real difference.