A fundraiser in four million

By Jessica Elgot, May 3, 2012
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Barbara Freedman (left) with Gloria Hunniford at Monday’s anniversary lunch at Fortnum and Mason

Barbara Freedman (left) with Gloria Hunniford at Monday’s anniversary lunch at Fortnum and Mason

The stars came out for a Cancer Research UK lunch at Fortnum and Mason on Monday organised by an Edgware woman who has helped to raise £4 million over 50 years.

Barbara Freedman, 72 - a Cancer Research UK honorary fellow and ambassador - said she wanted "to do this last one" to mark the anniversary.

Impressionist Jon Culshaw and broadcaster Gloria Hunniford were among the speakers at the lunch, also attended by actress Gwen Taylor, former Pans People dancer Babs Powell and Tory MP Matthew Offord. Author Jeffrey Archer conducted the auction.

When Mrs Freedman's mother died of cancer in 1962, she was persuaded by her father to carry on the family tradition of raising money for the charity. "I was 22 with a four-month-old baby. I was thrown in at the deep end. You didn't talk about it [cancer] in those days - my father warned me not to tell anyone.

"He said my mother always used to run the flag days [fundraising door-to-door]. I thought it wouldn't hurt to help out, went along, and did well. Then I went along to the committee in Hendon, who were doing whist drives and jumble sales while me and my friends still wanted to go out partying.

"So we started our own committee, sending money to the Hendon branch and eventually we were doing more than them. We wanted to be more than a local area committee."

The Radlett and Bushey Reform congregant has brought in the money from brunches, dinners, even a sponsored show-jumping event.

"My sister and my children were all involved in fundraising. Fifty years is certainly something to celebrate."

    Last updated: 6:40pm, May 3 2012