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Town rallies round to bring fresh hope for terminally-ill woman

PUBLISHED: 12:14 12 April 2019 | UPDATED: 08:27 15 April 2019

Andy Lucraft-Townley (left) and Chris Hayes with Heather Bellamy  Picture: Chris Bishop

Andy Lucraft-Townley (left) and Chris Hayes with Heather Bellamy Picture: Chris Bishop

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A town rallying round to support a terminally-ill woman has given her fresh hope.

Andy Lucraft-Townley (left) and Chris Hayes with Heather Bellamy and a £5,000 donation from Arbuckles former owner John Murphy  Picture: Chris BishopAndy Lucraft-Townley (left) and Chris Hayes with Heather Bellamy and a £5,000 donation from Arbuckles former owner John Murphy Picture: Chris Bishop

Heather Bellamy, 48, suffers from a rare form of myeloid leukaemia. Doctors said there was nothing more they could do for her after her body rejected stem cell transplants.

But a new drug available in America could save her - if she can raise £250,000 to fund treatment.

So far family, friends and supporters have raised almost £40,000. Two sponsored walkers, who set off from Ms Bellamy’s home town of Downham Market to walk to Cardiff today hope to add more than £10,000 to the total.

“It’s absolutely wonderful,” she said as she saw Andy Lucraft-Townley and Chris Hayes off from Arbuckles restaurant, where the pair both work.

Heather Bellamy, who has a rare for of leukaemia  Picture: Chris BishopHeather Bellamy, who has a rare for of leukaemia Picture: Chris Bishop

“I’ve lived here since I was 11 and worked here as well. This is a real community effort. I can’t quite get my head around it but I feel very positive.”

Mr Lucraft-Townley, 37, is bar manager at Arbuckles on the A10 at Bexwell.

“Living in Downham, it’s something we’ve all heard about,” he said. “I’m a parent, I know Heather is a parent, I wouldn’t want my children to be without me.”

Mr Hayes, 41, who is a supervisor at the restaurant, said: “I caught wind of the story and thought we’d do something to help.”

Andy Lucraft-Townley (left) and Chris Hayes setting off on their walk to Wales  Picture: Chris BishopAndy Lucraft-Townley (left) and Chris Hayes setting off on their walk to Wales Picture: Chris Bishop

So far, the duo have raised around £5,000 in sponsorship. Before they set off, they were presented with a cheque for £5,000 by Arbuckles’ former co-owner John Murphy.

West Norfolk mayor Nick Daubney and Downham mayor David Sharman were there to see Mr Lucraft-Townley and My Hayes off on their 250-mile trek to the Welsh capital.

“I just wanted to wish you well for what I understand is a short walk of 250 miles,” said Mr Daubney. “I think you’re doing a wonderful thing to support this. Just don’t run too fast on the M5.”

As they crossed the A10, Mr Sharman said: “The whole town’s got behind Heather. Anything that can be done is being done.”
Mother-of-four Ms Bellamy’s oldest daughter Lilly Young, 24, said: “I think it’s amazing. I don’t know how else to describe it.

“It’s brilliant so many people have come forward to help to fund raise for her. We’re super-grateful.”

The walkers are expected to reach Cardiff City Stadium in 10 days’ time. They will meet the Welsh club’s players - including Mr Murphy’s son Josh, who plays for the side - and receive a signed shirt for the appeal.

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