Essex: Young Farmers mourn loss of cancer sufferer Tom Bowdidge

Colchester Young Farmers' presentation of a cheque to the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Colchester Young Farmers' presentation of a cheque to the Teenage Cancer Trust. - Credit: Archant

The Essex YFC year is back in full flow, with regular parties, meetings and lots of activities for the members to get involved with.

A lot of clubs have been getting into the Halloween spirit by having pumpkin carving evenings, and Chelmsford Young Farmers hosted a big Hallowe’en party, with some very impressive fancy dress costumes.

Most clubs have now held their harvest suppers, which from all accounts have gone very successfully, and we have also now had our first sporting competition of the year, tennis, which was followed by our church harvest service, kindly hosted by Halstead Young Farmers.

Unfortunately, however, October has been a sad month for Essex Young Farmers, as on Friday, October 18, Tom Bowdidge, brother of Colchester Young Farmer Emma Bowdidge, passed away, aged 19, after a “battle” with cancer.

I use the word “battle” in inverted commas, as Tom was determined that people should not think he lost his battle with cancer, “but it is cancer that has no longer got a body to grow in”. He will be very sadly missed by everyone that knew him.

Tom was diagnosed with stomach cancer in September 2012 and he inspired Colchester Young Farmers to organise many fundraising events, including a Big Breakfast and a Muck Run.

One of their biggest fundraisers was an Auction of Promises, which many of the county and club’s supporters attended, bidding for a wide variety of donated prizes to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

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At this event, Tom gave a humorous speech, detailing his experiences of suffering from cancer as a teenager, inspiring all in attendance to bid generously. We thank all that have supported and generously given to Colchester Young Farmers’ fundraising efforts.

During his illness, Tom was responsible for donating more than £100,000 to the Teenage Cancer Trust, and he was determined, no matter how ill he was, to help the lives of others. The money Tom raised will go towards refurbishing the ward at the University College London Hospital, where he received his treatment.

Colchester Young Farmers’ 66th annual harvest supper took place the day after Tom died and was a poignant evening with the club presenting a cheque for £12,500 to Laura Woodcock of the Teenage Cancer Trust.

If Tom’s efforts to raise money inspires you, please consider donating via Tom’s fundraising page He will be remembered by all that knew him as a remarkable, selfless young man, full of generosity.

Jess Roche