A CHARITY committee that has raised millions of pounds towards cancer research is at risk of collapsing after four decades.
The Halifax Yorkshire Cancer Research group fears it may not reach its 40th anniversary due to dwindling support and ageing members.
Prostate cancer survivor Jim Maudsley, 70, is determined to protect the cause – one close to his heart – which he has spent the last 36 years raising money for.
He lost his wife Joan, also a committed supporter, at the age 61 to cerebella degeneration, a brain disease that was linked to her stoical 30-year battle with cancer of the breast and lymph glands.
He said: “The situation has now become critical. We will not be around in 18 months if a lack of willing volunteers continues.
“Some of our members are now in their 80s and we desperately need new, younger volunteers if we are to survive.
“I am so passionate about this charity, that my dear Joan loved for so many years, so this really is a case of support us and use us or ultimately you’ll lose us.”
The committee was founded in 1971 by former Mayor George Smith during his year of office. Mrs Maudsley was one of its earliest supporters.
“She was an inspiration to so many cancer sufferers in the local area,” said Mr Maudsley.
The Halifax Annual Charity Gala and the old Halifax Flower Festival became staple events on the committee’s fund-raising calendar and in 1995 it opened its own charity shop in King Cross Road.
But in recent years support has dwindled and member numbers have fallen drastically.
Mr Maudsley said: “We celebrate our 40th anniversary this year and I think we can be very proud that since 1971 the people of Halifax have raised well over £2 million for local cancer research, which has helped produce some major cancer drug breakthroughs.
“If we can just recruit a few more volunteers and work together with other community groups on events we can get the shop open all day every day of the week and continue to raise at least £10,000 a year from it, if not double.
“I know how generous the people of Halifax are. We just need their help and support once again to help save Yorkshire lives.”
The committee meets the first Wednesday of each month at the Maurice Jagger Centre, Winding Road, at 7.30pm.
To find out more call Mr Maudsley on 01422 245249.