Barbara keeps legacy alight

Barbara Ratcliffe with her husband Keith. (s)
Barbara Ratcliffe with her husband Keith. (s)
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By championing a cancer charity, a Nelson woman is keeping her caring husband’s amazing fund-raising legacy alight.

Barbara Ratcliffe (64) has raised £4,054.50 to help promote awareness of prostate cancer by holding fund-raising events and selling pin badges, which include life-saving details of symptoms associated with the illness.

Following her husband Keith’s death from advanced prostate cancer last November, she is determined to add to the money raised for Prostate Cancer UK.

She said: “He lost his fight but he wanted us to carry it on, so we hope to get as many people to wear the badge as possible.

“It’s about getting men to be aware of the symptoms and receive an early diagnosis.”

Following Keith’s own diagnosis in February 2013, the kind-hearted couple began fund-raising for the charity in October that same year.

“He was fortunate to be suitable for a trial drug and we’re very lucky that we had four years with him while he was on it,” added Barbara.

“He was so brave and he never complained.”

And it was Keith’s desire to give something back, his wife said, which inspired them to hold a quiz night and sell Christmas wreaths, grave pots and hanging baskets to raise funding.

A member of Pendle Flower Club, Barbara also held a fund-raising stall at the society’s Christmas demonstration.

“In less than an hour we raised £270 and Keith was absolutely thrilled to bits,” she said.

And even when he was admitted to Royal Blackburn Hospital for major surgery last October, Keith remained undeterred from his charity mission and began giving out the prostate pins to doctors, nurses and patients.

“Staff at the hospital called him an ambassador for health, as all the patients had begun wearing the badges on their pyjamas,” Barbara said.

“It was lovely!”

Then, when he began receiving care at home, he gave badges out to doctors and nurses, many of whom were unaware of all the symptoms of prostate cancer, said Barbara.

“We [also] sold the badges at his funeral, which helped to raise £150,” she added.

“The crematorium was full of people wearing prostate pins.”

Barbara would like to thank all the clinical staff for the care they provided Keith, as well as The Alma Inn, Laneshaw Bridge, for agreeing to sell the pins.

It is hoped they will also be available to buy from other local venues in the near future.

For more details, please visit https://prostatecanceruk.org/

Donations in Keith’s memory were given to Pendleside Hospice, who provided “wonderful” support to Keith and his family.