A couple who have been fundraising in memory of their son for almost 15 years and brought joy to countless hospital patients are closing in on the £200,000 barrier.
To take another step towards this fundraising milestone, Michael and Wendy Foot are putting the final touches to a ceilidh that will be held at Downham Town Hall on Saturday, April 8.
It will be the seventh time the Walpole St Peter couple have organised the fundraising event with the profits from the evening, once again, being shared with Arthritis Research UK.
The couple’s son, Robert Foot, worked as a political adviser for the Ministry of Defence and was made an OBE for his work in Sierra Leone during the country’s civil war.
But when leukaemia victim Robert stayed at hospital there wasn’t anything in his room to keep him entertained, and his heartbroken parents watched him grow frustrated from having nothing to do as the 33-year-old started to lose his cancer battle.
So after Robert died on November 5, 2002, his parents set up a charity in his memory the very next day to buy countless games consoles, DVDs, portable DVD players and board games for patients to enjoy at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Lynn.
Patients staying at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, and Guy’s Hospital in London have also benefited from the couple’s determination.
All three hospitals were places where Robert stayed.
Mr Foot, who was headteacher at Reffley Primary School, said: “Losing a child is not a scar, it is an open wound which never heals in time – you just learn to live with it more. We had no idea when we started how much we would raise.
“We didn’t have any expectations or targets, we just wanted to raise as much as we can.”
Mrs Foot added: “Robert was always an enormous power of good and even though he is not physically with us, all the things that have happened and the people we’ve met over the last 15 years, have all had something to do with Robert.”
Tickets for the ceilidh, which starts at 7.30pm, costs £10 or £5 for children of school age.
There will be a bar, tombola, and a ploughman’s supper.
Live music is provided by Abandon, with Jan Scofield being the caller.
Tickets can be brought in advance from Lewks in Wales Court, Downham, or by calling Mr and Mrs Foot on 01945 780468.