“I remember Mary How, a lovely lady. We used to stand at the school gates together and collect our children from school.
“Then Mary got bowel cancer. Why Mary? Why not me? How sad that she died.
“I can only say it’s wonderful 25 years on that we remember her in such a splendid way with the Mary How Trust and the many people it’s saved, and what a marvellous job it does today.”
These are the touching words of Lady Fiona Barttelot, once a close friend of Mary How and now a patron of the Trust.
Launched in 1988, shortly after Mary’s death, her family decided to set up a health service that would provide free screenings for the early detection of cancer and other life-threatening illnesses - something which Mary was unable to receive.
Entirely supported by donations from fundraisers and donors throughout the local community, the Trust performs more than 1,000 screenings a year at its clinics.
Trustee Christopher Leaver speaks enthusiastically about the last 25 years. “We’ve had a tremendous response from the local community and the good will we’ve created,” he says.
“It’s purely private donations, private support, private volunteers and we’re very proud of that.”
In July the trust joined residents in a picnic anniversary celebration with a live performance from local musician Willie Austen.
“It was an amazing weekend,” adds Mr Leaver. “All our volunteers were there to join us.”
After the successful event, Lady Barttelot, accompanied by trustees Christopher Leaver and Guy Leonard, and marketing and fundraising manager Roanne Moore-Loizides gathered in Stopham to discuss their exciting plans for 2014.
“We’re celebrating the anniversary into next year and getting a big fundraising push with a special luncheon,” explains Guy Leonard.
“We’re hoping to get a large amount of sponsorship to enable us to continue the good work of the trust.”
The special luncheon celebration will take place at ‘Goodwood’ in Chichester, which will be the venue’s early-season highlight on May 24 2014.
The ticketed event includes a delicious two course lunch with wine, Richmond Enclosure badge and car parking, and an opportunity to take part in the grand raffle and auction.
Sitting from the Charlton boxes, each guest will also have a racecard and tipster advice to take part in the adrenaline-pumping races.
Events such as this, will help keep alive a trust that costs an astonishing £250,000 a year to run.
“We don’t ask for anyone to pay for their screening, which is why we have to fundraise to produce the money that we need,” says Lady Barttelot.
Mr Leaver adds that the event will be the trust’s ‘major fundraiser for the year’.
“We think that everyone will enjoy themselves and have a wonderful time,” he declares.
All the proceeds from the 25th Anniversary Luncheon will go to the Mary How Trust, so that Mary’s name and the trust’s incredible cause can live on for another 25 years.
If you would like to take part in the Goodwood races, tickets cost £99 (or £88 for Goodwood members).
Invite along your friends - tables seat up to ten. Individual bookings are also welcome.
Call the Mary How Trust Ticket Line on 01798-877646 for further information.
To learn more about the service that the Mary How Trust provides, visit www.maryhowtrust.org or call 01798 877 640.