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

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 - Credit: Archant

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 Arbuckle

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

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 Bishop

Heather Bellamy, who has a rare for of leukaemia Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant


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'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.

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'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 Bisho

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

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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