A SCHOOL has raised funds for an NHS charity appeal as a thank you for the support given to one of its senior staff during her battle with breast cancer.

West Rainton Primary School staged a fundraising family picnic in aid of a £1m appeal to create a cancer care centre of excellence for the people of County Durham.

It was in recognition of the care given to Deputy Head Teacher Susan Firth during treatment for breast cancer, which included a mastectomy.

The appeal was launched earlier this year by the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust’s official charity and is being supported by The Northern Echo to mark its 150th anniversary in 2020.

The aim is to raise £1m to improve cramped facilities at the chemotherapy unit at the University Hospital of North Durham.

Susan, who has a 10-year-old son called Callum, underwent chemotherapy at the unit after being diagnosed in July 2018.

She said: “The care I had from the staff was second to none, but the facilities could be better. Patients deserve the best environment possible at the most difficult time in their lives and the amazing staff deserve better too.

“The school supported me throughout my journey, and I’ve also had so much support from parents, so the idea was to use the picnic to fundraise for the appeal and give something back. It was just to say thank you.”

The Northern Echo:

Susan, who also had lymph nodes removed during her treatment, was given the all-clear in February but is continuing to have hormone treatment and check-ups with an oncologist every three months.

The school holds a fundraising picnic every year for different good causes and this year’s event raised more than £300 for the cancer appeal.

The picnic was supported by local businesses, including the Italian Farmhouse, Miss Nancy’s Bistro, the Three Horseshoes pub, and Homer Hill Farm Shop.

Children in Year 6 had a Young Enterprise task to double their money by selling cakes and ice pops. They also held a “Guess The Name of the Dinosaur” competition and raffle.

West Rainton Primary School head teacher Alison McDonough has now pledged to run the Great North Run in aid of breast cancer research

  • You can donate via: www.justgiving.com/cddft or call: 01325 743781. To find out more about the appeal email Pat Chambers at: pat.chambers1@nhs.net or search Facebook and Twitter: @cddftcharity