A local skin cancer patient has given a generous gift to his former school.
Brian Watson, 81, helped Clifton Hospital-based Skin Cancer Co-ordinator, Michelle Forsyth provide sun hats for Westminster Primary Academy in Blackpool, by donating £400.
Together with skin cancer charity Skcin, of which Michelle is the North West Ambassador, the 400 Legionnaire hats were the latest donation to keep the children safe in the sun.
Michelle said: “I have previously worked with the school who are now an official Sun Safe accredited School with Skcin and the school in line with the policy the pupils have access to sun cream in the playground and the teachers have also provided sun cream for each class.
“During Melanoma May, the school put together a video to highlight what they had learned about sun safety. Brian was so impressed by the children’s enthusiasm; he wanted to donate money for sun hats, especially as this was his former school.
“Skcin matched the donation to ensure that Legionnaire hats were provided as they are the safest choice for children in the sun.”
Brian, who has had 13 skin cancers, said: “I feel like I’ve been given my life back since I’ve been helping Michelle raise skin cancer awareness and the importance of sun safety.
“It’s given me a purpose and knowing I might save just one person going through what I have been through makes it so worthwhile. I look forward to continuing to help Michelle and Skcin to make a difference.”
Kimberley Leathley, Year 5 teacher, said: “The school and parents are extremely grateful to Michelle, Brian and Skcin for all of their support. Our journey into becoming a Sun Safe School has been enjoyed by all of our pupils.
“The Skcin charity and Michelle have guided us every step of the way and having Brian come in to talk to pupils and staff was an amazing experience that we all truly appreciated. Having undertaken the Sun Safe Schools accreditation, we are all so much more aware of the damaging effects of the sun and are now implementing sun safe strategies into the pupils everyday lives that will become so ingrained, we truly believe that pupils will carry these strategies into their adult lives.”
Unfortunately, Brian could not attend the recent visit to Westminster Primary Academy due to ill health, but the school sent Brian a special thank you trophy with a card and he has planned to visit the school in the autumn.
Marie Tudor, CEO of Skcin, said: “It is heart-warming to hear of stories like Brian that make our work all the more worthwhile.
“Michelle is quite unique in her initiative ways to bring our sun safe schools programme to the community via positive collaboration. She is totally committed to our partnership and supporting the nationwide roll out sun safety.
“We are hugely grateful for Michelle’s ongoing support. Our Sun Safe schools programme is now closed to registrations until September.”
Michelle and SKCIN would also like to thank ‘Hi Vis Heroes’ for their help in sourcing and supplying the 400 legionnaire sun hats within a tight budget and deadlines.
To contact Michelle Forsyth, Macmillan skin cancer care co-ordinator at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michelle’s next fundraising event will be held on August 17 at Maximeyez, 162 Victoria Road West, Cleveleys between 10am and 2pm. There will be lots of advice and giveaways including 150 of rock star designer sunglasses for the first 150 primary school children who can quote the five Ss of sun safety.
You can watch the video of the event here:
PICTURE CAPTIONS: Brian Watson with his thank you card from Westminster Primary Academy; Year 5 children with Michelle Forsyth, teacher Kimberley Leathley and Skcin Campaign Manager Claire Dale; Michelle Forsyth, Claire Dale (Sckin Campaign Manager), teacher Kimberley Leathley, Lisa Fleet (Vice Principal), Roger Farley (Principal).