Tom Bowdidge Foundation donated £50k to Colchester General Hospital cancer centre plans

The Tom Bowdidge Foundation has donated £50K to Colchester General Hospital. L-R Caroline Bates, N

The Tom Bowdidge Foundation has donated £50K to Colchester General Hospital. L-R Caroline Bates, Nikki and Richard Bowdidge, Lesley Sheen. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

A charity set up in memory of an inspirational Colchester teenager has paused to donate £50,000 to the town hospital’s cancer central appeal – before fundraising continues apace.

The Tom Bowdidge Foundation has donated £50K to Colchester General Hospital. L-R Caroline Bates, N

The Tom Bowdidge Foundation has donated £50K to Colchester General Hospital. L-R Caroline Bates, Nikki and Richard Bowdidge, Lesley Sheen. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The Tom Bowdidge Foundation today handed over a cheque to Colchester Hospital Charity for the amount, which will fund a two-chair chemotherapy bay for teenager cancer patients at the new cancer care centre at Colchester General Hospital when it is built.

Nikki and Richard Bowdidge set up the foundation as a legacy to their son Tom, who died in 2013 aged 19 from soft tissue sarcoma – but not before raising £178,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust in the 13 months between his diagnosis and death.

Tom had campaigned for better facilities for teenagers on cancer wards.

Nikki said: “It was always our concern that teenagers would get left out, and we are excited about it coming to fruition.

Tom Bowdidge. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Tom Bowdidge. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant


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“It’s really important teenagers are in an environment they feel they can be teenagers first.

“Tom said he felt like a goldfish when he had treatment as the shock of an adult seeing a young person come in – I told him ‘they just feel sorry for you’ but he said ‘they just stare in horror’.”

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Although this scheme has now been paid for, the fundraising continues for the foundation, which not only supports projects such as that at Colchester General Hospital, but also donates £80,000 each year to the Institute for Cancer Research for projects looking at teenage cancers, and also gives grants to specific patients.

The foundation has a line of Christmas goods it is selling to raise funds, which can be bought at a range of Christmas fayres, including in Bury St Edmunds and at Jimmy’s Farm – or at the foundation’s own event on November 17.

Once Christmas is over, the charity will then be building up to its annual Feather Ball on February 24.

Nikki added: “We never take for granted the sums we are dealing with, and we’re very aware we couldn’t do this without our amazing supporters and donors.

“Christmas is a tough time and has not got easier. Tom loved Christmas, he made us have five trees in the house.

“He died in October and the first one without him we were not going to celebrate. But I saw a medium, who said Tom asked why we had bought a black tree – which we had – and to get rid of it and put up the memory tree. So we do celebrate, but there is a big gap.”

• The Tom Bowdidge Foundation Christmas Fayre takes place at 9 Firmins Court, West Bergholt, from 12-8pm on Friday, November 17.

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