Family and friends unite for Callum’s cancer fundraiser

Callum Semple, centre, was joined by all his family at the event. From left: nephew Richard, son Callum, daughter-in-law Gillian, brother Richard, daughter Rebecca, brother John, Callum holding granddaughter Lexi Jane, son Allan, son Iain standing behind grandson Callum, and son Andrew.

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A mammoth fundraising event which brought people from across Scotland together to stand United Against Cancer has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity – with more money still to be collected.

Callum Semple, the main organiser of last Saturday’s full-day event at Machrihanish Airbase Community Company Business Park, said: ‘Everything went exceptionally well – apart from the weather!’

But the wind and rain did little to deter hundreds of people from turning out to support the fundraiser, which was held in aid of various cancer charities which have become important to Callum since his terminal cancer diagnosis earlier this year.

He said: ‘My treatment doesn’t take long so when I’m up at the Beatson [West of Scotland Cancer Centre], I can go into the Maggie’s Centres and Beatson Cancer Charity buildings and spend a lot of time in there.

‘They give you free food and drink, and you meet other people in the same situation so it gives you a chance to speak and discuss things. The support that they give is absolutely tremendous.

‘I wanted to give something locally as well, so the local branches of Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie, as well as the Mairi Semple Cancer Fund, are all going to get something out of it.’

Callum explained that the Beatson will be the charity which receives the most money: ‘They are struggling for funds, and when you see the work that they do, not just for me but for all cancer patients, I thought it was an opportunity to give them something back.’

So far more than £25,000 has been raised, with ‘an awful lot more to come in from individuals, sponsors and guests’.

For Callum, the highlight of the day, which featured a tug-o-war, a bouncy castle, a lucky squares board, a tombola, a grand raffle, a whisky auction and a variety of live music, was the bed race.

‘It was absolutely brilliant, a great laugh – the work and effort that everybody put into their beds was unbelievable, especially the Mairi Semple Cancer Fund bed,’ he said. ‘It was a double divan decorated as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves; it was exceptional.’

Callum, who has five children, was joined by all his family at the event, as well as people from further afield.

He said: ‘My son [Callum] and daughter-in-law came over from Dublin, and one of my other sons, Iain, flew back from Australia especially for it, so my whole family was there.

‘There were also people there from Orkney and Shetland, all over Scotland, as well as a few from England.’

Callum says he is working on a list of people to thank – ‘literally hundreds’ – but, at the moment, he wishes to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who made last Saturday such a success.