Thorpe grandmother raises �100,000 for research into cancer after 21 years of fundraising

It all began with making �100 from knitting baby clothes.

Margaret Doggett, 74, reached the 21-year fundraising milestone this week and celebrated by thanking those who have helped her in her efforts for the cancer studies department at the University of East Anglia since 1991.

She said the hereditary bowel cancer which killed her husband, and his brother who died aged 21, spurred her on to help make sure Norwich is at the forefront of research into the disease.

But she admitted that she has become addicted to making money for the department, calling herself a 'cash collecting fanatic'.

She said: 'Every year I say I'm going to do less and less but I never manage to.

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'I wanted to have everybody together and thank them for all their help.

'It's not just thanks to my efforts that all the money has been raised - I really wouldn't have been able to do it without everyone else.'

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Mrs Doggett, former life insurance clerk at Norwich Union, started fundraising with three friends – Eileen Websdale, 79, Molly Blackburn, 75, and Pip Plater by selling baby clothes at a fete.

And still today the volunteering team are fundraising on the streets in and around Norwich, collecting cash at supermarkets and at Christmas fetes, and even selling poetry books.

In the first year of collection the team made �1,000 for Cancer Research UEA, and contacted Dr Ian Gibson, the head of the biological sciences school and former MP for Norwich North.

Mrs Doggett said Dr Gibson thanked her, but asked her to make some more – which she did.

Now, 21 years later, Mrs Doggett, is described by the current chair of cancer studies, Professor Dylan Edwards, as 'part of the furniture' in the department.

He praised Mrs Doggett for her 'diligence and persistence' in the huge amount she has made for the department, her fellowship received from the university in 2005 is exemplary of this.

Prof Edwards said: 'The money raised stays here in the department in Norwich and helps fund the next generation of research and help to understand what causes the spread of cancer.'

Mrs Blackburn, from Sprowston, said the raising of the money has been a gradual process that she doesn't think of it as such a large amount.

And Sylvia Seaggo, 83, a fundraiser and friend of Mrs Dogget, said she suffered with breast cancer and added: 'Margaret has always been a good friend and so hard working.'

nIf you would like to help out or make a donation, contact Margaret on 01603 438941.

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