Docking’s Gavin English who raised £115,000 for King's Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital cancer services fund in wife’s memory dies
A “true superstar” who single-handedly raised more than £115,000 for a hospital’s cancer services fund in his wife’s memory has died.
Gavin English, of Docking, died unexpectedly at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital – the same hospital he had supported for the last decade – on December 20.
The great-grandad dedicated himself to raising money for the QEHKL Charity in memory of his late wife Frances over the last 10 years.
He held 500 car boot sales, paying all fees and travel expenses from his own pocket, and 300 collections at local supermarkets.
Gavin, who was a retired dog warden, also wrote a series of short stories called The Last Waltz in memory of his Frances, which were published as booklets.
His family said, in a death notice published in the Lynn News: “A prolific fundraiser for Cancer Care and Treatment Centre QE.
“A beloved dad, grandad and great-grandad. Gavin will be dearly missed by all his family and friends.”
Gavin's fundraising saw a huge range of improvements for cancer patients – among them new chairs for the QEH chemotherapy room, a renovated waiting area in the Macmillan Unit and the refurbishment of the Peace and Hope Garden, which provides an outside space for reflection and relaxation for cancer patients.
His efforts also saw him nominated for The Mayor's Civic Awards for Voluntary Service and invited to the Buckingham Palace Garden Party.
Back in 2022, Gavin said: “This is such an important thing for me and I honestly don’t know what I would do without it. I will continue to fundraise forever and a day.
“I am incredibly grateful to the staff at QEH, who I have often said are ‘angels dressed as doctors and nurses’.
“It was them who gave Frances and me an extra 15 months together, and every single day of that was so precious to us.”
Gavin and Frances were married for 56 years until her death due to lung cancer aged 77 in 2013, when she asked him to fundraise for the QEH.
They had two children, Raymond and Belinda, and four grandchildren, Anthony, Alan, Rebecca and Christopher.
Shortly before his death, Gavin was presented with an engraved glass trophy from the QEH’s CEO Alice Webster as a symbol of the hospital’s gratitude for all that he had done to support patients and staff.
“Humbled, he promised to continue and was working on plans with senior nursing staff to renovate cancer care facilities in 2024,” a QEH spokesperson said.
“These will continue in Gavin’s honour.”
Ms Webster said, in 2022: “Gavin is a true superstar, and we are eternally grateful to him and the amazing work he continues to do.
“I know his wife Frances would be incredibly proud of what he has achieved.
“The support of people like Gavin helps us to improve lives by improving patient outcomes and care.”
After the presentation, Gavin went on to buy Christmas presents for patients on Shouldham Ward and was in the middle of carrying out a packed schedule of supermarket collections for the Cancer Care Treatment Fund, before becoming ill.
His funeral will take place at Lynn’s Mintlyn Crematorium on Monday at 1.45pm.
Donations can be made if desired at www.ajcoggles.co.uk by following the memorygiving link, or they can be made at the service.
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