A group of friends will be tackling 72 holes at Brampton Golf Club - in just one day - in a poignant tribute to the Macmillan nurses who cared for a set of twins with cancer.
Stuart Miller, 49, from Brampton, was a young man when he lost mum Jane and her twin sister Judith when they were in their mid-forties.
Jane was diagnosed with breast cancer and then liver cancer, before Judith found a malignant lump in her breast. She died aged 45, just three years after her sister.
The Swiss Post Solutions employee said: “I’d been thinking about doing some fundraising for Macmillan for a while, and this year mum and her twin would have been 75 on June 27, and it’ll also be my 50th, so everything seemed to point towards it being the right time.
“My mum and auntie had Macmillan nurses to help them with anything they needed and to make them comfortable in their last few months.”
Stuart spoke with his friends who are members at Brampton Golf Club and soon had three teammates ready to take on Macmillan’s ‘Longest Day Golf Challenge’ on June 30, which they plan to start at 4.30am to fit in all four rounds before nightfall.
The rest of the team comprises Stamford resident Jody Greenall, 44, who works for St James’s Place Wealth Management, Mark White, 54, owner of Yaxley business Marant Development, and Brampton local Tyrone Allan, 29, also of Marant Development.
Stuart isn’t the only member of the team to be dealt a heart-breaking blow by cancer, as fellow competitor Mark had to contend with losing his great-niece Jess Shepherd when she was just 10 years old.
He remembers a courageous and caring little girl who charmed everyone around her with her contagious smile and positive spirit, even as she underwent gruelling treatment for neuroblastoma that eventually spread to her lungs.
“Jess always continued to smile no matter what was going on. She left us with her famous last words, which were ‘Don’t be sad when I’m gone, it’s a waste of a day,” Mark said.
“She was the kind of child who would be having the worst day ever illness-wise but would still want to give out some of the hundreds of gifts she’d received, to cheer up the other kids in hospital.
“Jess will always be an inspiration to others both now and for years to come, because of how brave and courageous she was in the way she dealt with it all.
“I’ll be picturing her sunny smile as I take on this challenge for anyone with cancer who needs some support.”
Macmillan’s popular annual golfing event, which marks its 20th anniversary this year, challenges entrants to take on four rounds of golf on a summer day of their choosing, to raise money for vital cancer support services.
A three-night stay at the Boavista Golf and Spa Resort in Portugal awaits the top four fundraising teams in 2021.
Stuart has inherited the Miller family’s fundraising mantle from his father, Ray Miller who selected Macmillan as his charity of the year during his captaincy of the Brampton Golf Club in 2014 - raising more than £12,000 towards the construction of the Macmillan Woodlands Centre at Hinchingbrooke Hospital.
Stuart and his team have already raised almost £4,000 and are focused on raising as much as they possibly can.
Michelle Hutchinson, regional fundraising manager for Macmillan in Cambridgeshire, said: “We are doing everything we can to help address the immediate and unique challenges that having cancer during this pandemic brings but we need support.
“The extraordinary efforts of people like Stuart and his teammates help us to continue being there for people living with cancer.”
To donate to Stuart’s appeal, visit his team’s fundraising page: https://longestdaygolf.macmillan.org.uk/Team/bramptonparkgolfers
To find out more about the Longest Day Golf Challenge and register to take part, visit the Macmillan website: https://longestdaygolf.macmillan.org.uk/