I was pleased to be invited to the Parkgate & Rawmarsh Ladies Charity Darts League Presentation Night last week. This is the second year I’ve attended and I was once again blown away by the utterly amazing women who play in this League.
The League has been in existence for over 35 years and has raised an astounding amount of money for so many different charities in that time. I was invited along by the lovely Bev and Sonia, members of the Sharks Team, who had a cheque for £550 for Pancreatic Cancer UK (PCUK) which they wanted me to pass over and, of course, I was delighted to do this.
Sadly, Bev’s life has been turned upside down by pancreatic cancer. Her beloved husband Paul was diagnosed in January 2015. Paul was a healthy, fit and muscular man but when he lost 3 stone in two months Bev knew something wasn’t right. After being backwards and forwards to his GP, Paul was eventually diagnosed. Initially Paul got lucky, he was eligible for a trial which he started a month after he was diagnosed. Devastatingly though, Paul’s luck didn’t last – he experienced problem after problem to the point where he just wasn’t strong enough to continue on the trial.
A few months later in July, Paul and Bev married – despite all of the sadness they were dealing with they had the best day and Bev describes it as the happiest day of her life and one that she will cherish forever.
Sadly, their happiness was short-lived because by October Paul had deteriorated further and by Boxing Day he had to be admitted to the Hospice. On 30 December 2015, 15 days after his 53rd birthday, Paul passed away in Bev’s arms. A testament to how loved Paul was, not only by Bev, was that over 500 people attended his funeral and the funeral director said in all of his years he had never seen anything like it.
Pancreatic Cancer was why Bev and I met and each year since Paul was diagnosed, Bev has chosen to support PCUK as part of the fundraising from the Ladies Charity Darts League. I picked up the cheque for PCUK and it is now winging its way to them.
This year, this incredible bunch of women raised £13,300 between them which was distributed to so many very deserving charities. It’s humbling being in the room watching the cheques being awarded and seeing the passion of the women that raise this money.
Last year was the first year the Paul Willis Memorial Trophy was being awarded and to Bev’s delight and surprise she was the winner! This year, Sonia won it – no pressure on the rest of the Sharks Team to keep it in the team next year then!
What a fantastic night we had with Bev, Sonia, the rest of the Sharks Team and all of the amazing ladies in the League – thank you girls for all that you do!