Tickets are on sale now for the festive event in the grandeur of Glasgow Cathedral on December 7 which will raise vital funds to help beat cancer sooner. Colin, best known for his tv roles in Taggart and River City as well as movie role in Shallow Grave, was joined at the event launch by 11-year-old Neve McDonnell. Neve of Glasgow who endured heart surgery in February this year is a recipient of a Cancer Research UK Kids and Teens star award in recognition of her courage shown during treatment for leukaemia. The countdown to Christmas officially began as Neve pulled on a santa hat and was treated to a chocolate advent calendar before being presented with VIP tickets for the concert.
Every hour, around four people in Scotland* hear the news that they have cancer. But cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress. The charity has only been able to achieve this and fund outstanding scientists, doctors and nurses thanks to the dedication and generosity of volunteers organising events like the Glasgow Carol Concert. Colin, who will do a reading at this year’s concert, has first hand experience of watching a loved one fight cancer. His brother, Flight Lieutenant Ken McCredie served an outstanding 35-year career with the Royal Air Force but died on June 25 2014 aged just 54 after a battle with bowel cancer. Now Colin is determined to help bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.
Colin, 45, of Glasgow said: “Cancer touches so many families.
“My brother had completed 11,378 flying hours when he died. There is a tree and plaque in his memory at RAF Brize Norton where he was based. There were many things he still wanted to do and he is missed so much by all the family. We lost my mum to cancer too so I know the impact this disease can have.
“I’m looking forward to the carol concert and being part of what will be a magical evening. It’s wonderful to know that all the money raised will go directly towards Cancer Research UK’s life-saving research in Scotland.
“I hope people across Scotland will come along to what will be a glorious event. The cost of their ticket will go a long way to ensuring that the world class research that goes on at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute in Glasgow can continue to make great strides towards beating cancer.”
BBC Scotland presenter Jackie Bird will host the Glasgow Carol Concert which will also feature a reading by BBC presenter Janice Forsyth. Pianist Ancuta Nite, musician Suzie Falconer and folk singer Arthur Johnstone are all set to perform at the concert. The junior performance choir from Erskine Stewart’s Melville School, Edinburgh and the senior choir from the High School are also taking part.
Christmas and Hogmanay is a particularly emotional time for many families of children who have been in hospital. Primary seven pupil Neve McDonnell who had surgery on February 1 this year to close a hole in her heart has battled back from two serious illnesses in her young life. That’s why Neve, her mum Nicola, 40, dad Chris, 38, and brother Ethan, six, can’t wait to spend some quality time together this Christmas.
Mum Nicola said: “Last Christmas we weren’t in such a good place as a family as we’d just received the news that Neve needed more heart surgery.
“I’m so proud of Neve and how her smile and resilience has actually helped pull us through some of the tougher times. We’re looking forward to a really special time this Christmas.”
Neve from Moodiesburn, Glasgow was born with a rare heart defect called tetralogy of Fallot. At just nine months old, Neve endured open heart surgery to treat a hole in her heart and thickening of the heart muscle. She needed ten days in the intensive care ward after the operation in June 2007 but recovered well. That’s why it was a hammerblow on October 10 2012 when doctors diagnosed Neve with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a cancer of the white blood cells.
Neve’s mum Nicola said: “It just didn’t seem fair for lightning to strike twice.
“I remember saying to the doctors but that can’t be right as Neve has already had a heart problem. Neve had bounced back so well from heart surgery as a baby and we’d returned to family life with Neve hitting all her milestones and loving school. Now we were back in hospital and felt devastated.”
Neve got out of hospital just before Christmas 2012 but endured another two years of treatment, losing her hair during the first few months of intense chemotherapy. She had battled back to full fitness when a routine check up last November revealed a one and half cm hole in her heart. This time Neve was able to have keyhole surgery which meant less recovery time and she returned to school this spring.
Last year Cancer Research UK spent more than £34 million a year in Scotland on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research. Glasgow is home to the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute where scientists are exploring how cancer cells grow, survive and spread. An exciting programme of work has been established to look for ways to tailor treatment for pancreatic cancer. Scientists in Glasgow and Edinburgh are trying to develop new drugs to target an aggressive type of brain tumour called neuroblastoma. They’ve also helped uncover some of the secrets of p53 – a molecule that is faulty in many cancers. Their work is helping open new avenues of investigation that could effectively treat this complex disease. This is only possible thanks to the generosity of the people of Glasgow who support events like the Glasgow Cathedral carol concert.
Organised by a dedicated committee of volunteers, the Glasgow Christmas Carol Concert has raised more than £380,000 for Cancer Research UK since it first started in 1999.
The event takes place on Thursday December 7 at 6.15pm. Tickets cost £40 each or £100 for a family ticket which is two adults and two children. They are available on www.eventbrite.co.uk
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