Late night shoppers see red in Colchester – but it’s all for a good cause

Colchester's water tower, Jumbo, is lit red in memory of Robin Freeman and for The Robin Cancer Trus

Colchester's water tower, Jumbo, is lit red in memory of Robin Freeman and for The Robin Cancer Trust

Crowds of people gathered in Colchester town centre to see a towering landmark lit up for charity.

Toby Freeman in front of the water tower

Toby Freeman in front of the water tower

The famous Victorian water tower, nicknamed Jumbo, turned bright red for an annual celebration honouring Robin Freeman, who died from a rare form of germ cell cancer in 2011.

All 116ft of the tower at the Balkerne Gate was illuminated to mark ‘Red for Robin’ day on the fifth anniversary of the 24-year-old Wivenhoe man’s death.

The stunt was organised by The Robin Cancer Trust, which aims to raise awareness of testicular and ovarian germ cell cancers in 16 to 35-year-olds.

Trust founder, chief executive, and Robin’s brother, Toby Freeman said: “It was absolutely incredible and humbling to see so many people of all ages. This was all about celebrating how great Colchester has been to us.

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“The charity has come to represent Rob’s legacy and to save the lives of other people. Rob had a very complicated case [caused by a teste cell which had remained in his chest]. Our work is based upon early detection and imploring young guys and girls to be more informed and get early diagnosis.”

Trust supporters have traditionally worn red on the anniversary of Robin’s death – but the charity wanted to stage something special for 2016.

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Colchester company GoodMove Moving & Storage sponsored the event at Balkerne Gate site, which was turned purple for a week in September by Colchester borough councillor Darius Laws, who also helped make Saturday’s event happen.

The trust’s campaign message was projected from the Mercury Theatre and Yates bar, with other venues offering use of car parks and helping with promotion.

As usual, supporters wore red and shared photos on social media, using the hashtag #RedForRobin.

At Colchester United’s last home game, the team warmed up in red to support the cause before beating Crewe four-nil.

The club had donated an executive box to the Freeman family when Robin was unwell – but he was too ill to make the game and passed away that day.

To donate £3 to the charity, which has raised an estimated £160,000 for awareness campaigns and events, text ROBIN to 70300, or visit for more information.

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