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'We're singing for Spencer...'
HIS battle against cancer has inspired a major fundraising effort – and now a charity concert in memory of Spencer Uren will hopefully get the campaign over the finishing line.
As previously reported in The Gazette, Spencer lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on May 31, 2009, after appearing on Channel 4 reality show Come Dine With Me.
Spencer actually went on the show to try to win the £1,000 prize money to give to his sister Sorelle, who was going through chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
But just weeks later, the marketing manager, from Hackwood Road, Basingstoke, found out he had cancer too.
By the time the programme was broadcast a year later in 2010, Spencer, who was only 37, had died.
Since his son’s death, his father Raye has been trying to raise money for the Wessex Cancer Ward at Basingstoke hospital to equip it with a special area for young patients, which has free internet access, televisions, X-boxes and Playstations.
The fund has already raised more than £20,000, but Raye hopes his target of £25,000 will be achieved with the help of his fellow members at Basingstoke Rock Choir.
The group, who meet at Cranbourne Business and Enterprise College, are holding a special concert on July 12 at The Anvil, in Basingstoke, to raise money for the fund and St Michael’s Hospice, in Aldermaston Road, where Spencer spent his final days.
Raye, who runs a hairdressing salon in Oakley, said: “It’s been three years now and we have so far raised £20,000 plus £4,000 in gift aid. I’m hoping that if we sell enough tickets we will reach the £25,000 for the ward.
“I really want them to have a room in Spencer’s name. There’s nothing up there for young people, and there are lots of young people who have cancer. It would be nice to have a room for them to watch TV and have something to do. I’m so thrilled this concert is going ahead.”
He added: “It still seems like just yesterday that Spencer died. Losing your child is horrendous.”
Glen Harvey, leader of Basingstoke Rock Choir, said: “I was really touched by Raye’s story and the fact he wants to give something back to other people going through what his son went through.
“We chose to support St Michael’s Hospice because a few of our members are volunteers there and we have a few members who have first-hand experience of their great work and what they do for the community.”
The concert will include a range of popular feel-good songs, including Mr Blue Sky and When You’re Gone, sung by more than 170 Rock Choir members.
Glen added: “People can expect an evening of great songs and great spirit and a great feeling of community.
“The Basingstoke Rock Choir have been working hard and for one night only will be performing all of their songs for a very good cause.”
Tickets are now on sale from Anvil Arts, costing £15, or £10 for over-60s, full-time students and under-16s.
Visit anvilarts.org.uk/whats-on /12/jul/rock-choir-live for more details.