A FLEDGLING team of enthusiasts supporting cancer patients has won praise and recognition.

The Christie Bears Knutsford, a new fundraising group for The Christie Charity, has been commended in the charity’s Impact Report.

The report looks back over 2022/2023 and highlights what effect The Christie Charity has made to cancer patients and their families.

The charity raised a phenomenal £23 million last year, thanks to support from the local community.

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The Christie Bears Knutsford was set up by clinical psychologist Heather Mason, Val Pallister and Claire Ratcliffe, and soon found kindred spirits in Janet Illingworth, Kerri Reece and Jennie O'Brien.

Heather wanted to get involved in a charity in memory of her mum Sue Mason, who sadly died in 2016 from non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

In the first year, this new charity has raised more than £11,000 by holding several events and having a presence at various community events.

Heather said: “We organise fundraising events in several venues in the town, including Dexter & Jones in the heart of Knutsford.

“It has become a community hub and an important part of our fundraising where people meet and exchange lots of ideas.”

One day, a man asked if she was fundraising for The Christie and came back with a three-foot cuddly bunny, which they raffled.

“Locals are always offering to do things to fundraise for us,” said Heather.

“It's all about targeting the community and bringing people together. “We’ve been involved with lots of community events including a Bunny Hop, a charity head shave, and the knitted bears which are created at our Knit and Natter socials.

“People have started donating wool to us, so we have a good supply now.

“The bears have been going down a storm.

“We’ve been making £250 a month selling them.”

Knutsford Town Council is directing people to their group.

Heather added: “It would be great to be able to raise awareness of being part of or setting up community fundraising groups in the Cheshire area.

“We have so much fun and we have met so many fantastic and generous people.

“Just the joy of raising money for this incredible cause is amazing."

The Christie Charity Impact Report can be found at TheChristie.cld.bz/Impact-Report-2023

To support The Christie Charity, visit christie.nhs.uk or call 0161 446 3988.

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.