The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members

Coretta Scott King


Throughout history, during good times and bad, one thing that remains constant is how the power of community can change lives.

Our incredible fundraisers are at the heart of the Wessex Cancer Support community. And they make a tangible difference to the lives of local people living with cancer. They understand, and care deeply, about the power of community.

Someone we’re incredibly proud to have had by our side for 35 years is our longest-serving volunteer,
community fundraiser Gwyneth Pearce

Gwyneth felt compelled to begin her fundraising journey with us after several family members were diagnosed with cancer and she saw first-hand how Wessex Cancer Support’s care could help. At the time she had a young family and a busy job, but as a Food Economics teacher saw how she could make a difference. So she joined Wessex Cancer Support when we were based in a portacabin in the car park of the Royal South Hants hospital. As the charity grew, she used her catering experience to support hundreds of local events – from bake sales, afternoon cream teas and curry nights to bridge nights, celebrations and literary lunches. In 1994, when she retired from teaching, she took on even more. Throughout 35 years of fundraising she’s been involved in hundreds of events, donated her time regularly (everything from giving patients’ lifts to their hospital appointments to stuffing envelopes!), given talks and has regularly been our top raffle ticket seller! When grandchildren came along she was keen to involve them too and make fundraising a family affair.

She says:

“My children, Steve and Sandy, supported me a lot. The events were often a lot of hard work, but I’m pleased our efforts have been able to help people of all ages. I wish you lots of luck with the 40th Birthday celebrations and send my best wishes to you all.”

She tells us that one of her proudest moments was when she helped to put on a Ploughman’s lunch for 200 people, which involved making 20 trifles!

It feels strange to think that when Gwyneth first started fundraising for us, the halfpenny had only just gone out of circulation! And she’s been with us through the leadership of seven Prime Ministers, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the development of the first mobile phone! The act of fundraising and the nature of cancer care has changed dramatically during that time too. But one thing has remained constant; Gwyneth’s unwavering determination to do whatever it takes to raise as much money as she can for local people living with cancer.

Thank you, Gwyneth. The Wessex Cancer Support community is so grateful for your kindness and dedication