Caroline Faller wanted to do something for Stand Up to Cancer in memory of her friend Michelle Elliott, who sadly passed away from cancer a year ago at the age of 49.
She gathered a group of seven friends, Sandra Cobden, Mo Prevett, Mich Jukes, Karen Milner, Tracie Penwarden, Jacqui Edwards and Jude Loach, and went into action.
Caroline said: “It was while watching Stand Up to Cancer’s Bake Off that I got inspired. Baking is something I can do and so initial thoughts began to having a cake sale and maybe raising a few hundred pounds.
“However, with summer approaching, my idea grew bigger and thoughts turned to having a garden party. Knowing I couldn’t do this on my own, I approached seven other close friends of Michelle who immediately came on board with my crazy plans and into action we went, practising our baking skills - well, the cakes needed a taste test, making bunting long enough to fill the street, devising music playlists and calculating how many kettles and teapots we would need.
“Suddenly my fundraising target grew to £500 – could we achieve that?
“Michelle was diagnosed in October 2016 and by June 2017 she had lost her bravely-fought fight. Ever since then, I have been wanting to do something to raise money in memory of her and to contribute in a small way to fund research to help beat this cruel disease.”
After weeks of baking and preparation, Caroline opened the gates at her Durrington home to about 60 invited guests. It was a beautiful day and everyone enjoyed the stunning array of homemade cakes - 23 different types to be precise.
Caroline said: “It was so lovely to have a garden full of friends old and new, chatting and enjoying the garden swathed in bunting with the sun shining down.
“I also created a memory board with photos of Michelle and invited people to add their photos, too. This generated lots of memories, a few sad but mainly happy. Michelle was such a lively character, full of life and energy, and we miss her loads. She would have loved the party.”
Even people who could not attend the party made donations online and a week later, the final total was £914, nearly twice the target.
Caroline said: “We were all chuffed to bits. All our efforts were definitely worth it for our lovely friend.”