We are so proud that Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research volunteers have been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours List today. Our recently retired Chairman Lord Cadogan, Chairman of the Lutterworth Branch Chris Ingham and Chairman of the Derbyshire Branch Kaylet Smedley will be much deserving recipients in this very special Jubilee Year.
Lord Cadogan acted as Chairman of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research (LLR) for 28 years following the death of a friend's young son to leukaemia. He has led exponential growth in our investment in research and dramatic improvements in the understanding, treatment and cure for many blood cancers. His humour, wise counsel and kindness have been shared with patients, researchers, trustees and employees and we are delighted that his dedication and commitment have been recognised in this special year.
Chris Ingham has dedicated the last 44 years to raising money for LLR. Chris told her local newspaper "I don't think of it as hard work because I just enjoy it – it is my way of life". Chris began her charity work in 1968 when a friend's granddaughter was diagnosed with leukaemia, and she volunteered to sell raffle tickets for LLR at the pony club where her children rode.Her fund-raising efforts continued and in 1970 she had mustered enough local support to set up a Lutterworth and District LLR Branch.In 1998, she set up an LLR charity shop on the corner of Church Street and Bank Street in Lutterworth.It was supposed to run for six weeks – 14 years later it is flourishing and she has opened a second shop in Station Road, Lutterworth. We often refer to her as the "Stuart Rose" of LLR! In the last year alone, Chris and her wonderful team of volunteers have raised more than £100,000 and Chris feels strongly that the award recognises the effort of her team-but they have an inspirational leader!
Kaylet Smedley recently celebrated her 80th Birthday by giving William and Kate marriage guidance at a special event with the Royal Family in Nottingham for people celebrating 60 years of marriage, Prince William asked her if she and her husband Ron were still speaking after all of that time together! The Derbyshire Branch was one of the first to be formed in 1962 and Kaylet started the Branch following the tragic death of her son Andrew,from leukaemia, he was just eight years old.At that time he had very little chance of survival, but thanks to volunteers like Kaylet the same disease today has more than 90% chance of recovery. The Derbyshire Branch are heading towards raising £2 million since they began, which is an extraordinary achievement and Kaylet will be carrying the Olympic torch on June 29th. Kaylet has provided a wonderful sense of family with her local supporters and is an inspiration and great source of optimism and hope for blood cancer patients and their families in the local area.
We are also delighted that the work of Chief Executive of Myeloma UK, Eric Low has been recognised as well as a number of philanthropic supporters of LLR.