Wednesday, 26 March 2014


Few people could have missed a couple of big things going on this month: one is that the sun has shone, quite a bit, actually. The other is that it’s the month when the Marie Curie cancer care charity do a helluva lot of fundraising for their work, which includes supporting many hospices up and down the country. They’ve been on the radio, in the press and on the streets with tins and lovely little daffodil pins.

Nothing perhaps is more symbolic of spring in this country than bright daffodils, a sign that better weather is coming, a sign of hope. This is exactly what Marie Curie offer to thousands of cancer sufferers and their families: a bit of brightness and a bit of hope that their last days can be spent in a dignified, comfortable manner.

I signed up this year to donate an hour of my time after hearing the radio campaign earlier back in January (that was such an effective ad!) It didn’t seem like much but the money I could collect would all be useful to help them continue their work.

I hoped the terrible winds and monsoon rains would go away and do you what?  They did.

Saturday March 15th dawned bright and sunny- how lucky was I and all the other collectors that day, at least in London. I had requested to collect in the Angel Islington area in the early afternoon so set off for St. Mary’s Church on Upper Street to collect my tin, tabard, official permission and those lovely little daffodil pins. 

The women organizing the collection/drop off centre also offered me smiles and encouragement. (an everdayfolk thumbs up and thanks to them thumbs up) It had been many years since I had done street collecting for a charity and wasn’t sure how it would go.

It went really, really well as it turned out, thanks not only to the beautiful weather but the lovely people who came over to me to put money in the tin, to have a quick chat, pass the time of day or even to ask directions. Mostly though they donated and did so generously. (An EF thanks and thumbs up to all who donated thumbs up) I had barely picked my place in the sun than people started putting coins in the tin. I picked a busy little spot at one of the entrances to the N1 centre in Upper Street, with my face turned to the sun and blue sky and the general public. 

I was pleasantly surprised at how busy I was and the hour went by so quickly I decided to stay a bit longer.

I want to thank here all those who gave that afternoon, ordinary everyday people but many of them touched by cancer in some way. They were of all ages. A group of children out shopping came over, really wanting to get a few more daffodil pins for their collection. They put some money in the tin. A boy in the group asked me how much you have put in and would 2p be enough: I said whatever he had to give and 2p would be enough. It’s better surely to encourage the act of giving. He put a bit more than that in, in the end.

A group of trendy teenagers found their way over to me to donate, one of them saying ‘I really like this charity, they do great stuff.’ Two women came over who were keen supporters. One of them, wearing a nice pink sweatshirt first became interested in finding out about Marie Curie when she was only 2 and her dad was diagnosed with cancer. We chatted a bit comparing notes about Marie Curie herself and my girlhood role model Florence Nightingale. Her companion was a nurse and had referred to the North London Marie Curie hospice that the money in my tin was bound for.

I said goodbye to them but the lady in pink came back over with a bottle of nice cold water- it was a warm afternoon and thirsty work. That was a very kind, thoughtful so a big thank you to her! (Another EF thanks and thumbs up thumbs up)

And to all the other folk who made the afternoon such an uplifting experience for me and a worthwhile one for Marie Curie.

I will definitely do this again!

To donate to Marie Curie or find out more about the wonderful work they do, please go to

We would also like to give an everdayfolk thumbs up thumbs up to Ruth herself for donating her time to Marie Curie, thanks Ruth. Cherrington can be found on
twitter @CHistorians and at 

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