A group of fundraising musicians who are a familiar sight in town centres in South Manchester and Cheshire are celebrating after raising half a million for Cancer Research UK.
The Loose Change Buskers, who perform in town centres across Trafford, South Manchester and Cheshire, began fundraising for Cancer Research UK in 2010.
The group was founded by Timperley and Altrincham musicians Bernard Dolan and John Fogel after a close friend of theirs had cancer. Since then the group has grown and now has 35 members, including musicians and bucketeers who collect coins from members of the public.
They take it in turns to busk in town centres and at events in South Manchester and Cheshire every weekend collecting loose change for Cancer Research UK.
Bernard Dolan, Chair of Loose Change Buskers, said: “It’s amazing that we’ve managed raise half a million pounds for Cancer Research UK from busking in Manchester and Cheshire.
“I never in my wildest dreams thought we could make such a difference when we first started out busking all those years ago.
“Over the years the team of volunteers and the number of venues we play at has grown. Our musicians and bucket collectors – or bucketeers as we call them - give up so much of their time, whatever the weather and we never lose sight of why we are doing this. Very sadly we all know someone who has been affected by cancer and we’ve lost members of the Buskers to cancer over the last eight years as well which has been very sad.
“We all know someone who has been affected by cancer and I think the public do too which is why they have dug so deep and supported us all over these years.
“We’ve been lucky enough to go and see some of the work carried out in Manchester by Cancer Research UK scientists and we know how important this work is and that’s what drives us to keep going.
“We can’t thank the generosity of the people in Cheshire and South Manchester enough as they’ve always been very supportive of the work we do and are the main reason we have been so successful in raising this amazing sum.”
Every hour around five people are diagnosed with cancer in the North West. Money raised by Loose Change Buskers will fund research to beat cancer helping to ensure more men, women and children in Manchester and across the UK survive. This year charity was able to spend around £26 million last year in Manchester on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research - helping more men, women and children survive cancer.
The special milestone is one of a string of successes Loose Change Buskers have had over their eight years. The fundraising group won Cancer Research UK’s Community Organisation of the Year 2018, beating off stiff competition from across the UK at the charity’s annual Flame of Hope Awards.
They were also honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK, in 2016 and two members attended Buckingham Palace and met the Queen.
Trudy Stammer, Head of volunteer Fundraising at Cancer Research UK, said: “We’d like to thank the Loose Change Buskers for the huge contribution they have made to Cancer Research UK. work over the past eight years. We are incredibly grateful for their support. Come rain or shine they will be out doing what they do best – entertaining crowds in town centres and supermarkets, putting a smile on people’s faces and raising funds for vital research.
“One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives, but the good news is more people are surviving the disease now than ever before.
“Cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress. However, we have only been able to achieve this thanks to the dedication and commitment of volunteers and supporters like Bernard and John and the rest of Loose Change Buskers without whom we would not be able to fund our life-saving research.”
For further information about Cancer Research UK’s work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 0300 123 1022 or visit cruk.org.
The Loose Change Buskers will be playing at Knutsford Market on 3rd February from 11am