Widowed mum-of-two raises thousands for Hampstead Marie Curie hospice with help of Highgate schoolchildren

A mother-of-two whose husband died of cancer four years ago has praised the “magical” work of Marie Curie Cancer Care – as Highgate schoolchildren transformed into daffodils and bananas to raise money for the charity’s Hampstead hospice.

Highgate Junior School became a sea of yellow on Friday as pupils paid to dress in the colour of the charity’s daffodil logo.

The day helped to raise more than £2,000 for Hampstead’s Marie Curie Hospice, in Lyndhurst Gardens.

Organiser Sarah Wyn-Jones, who tragically lost her partner Gareth to cancer in 2010 when the couple’s children were just six and nine, said it had been a “tremendous” success.

As patron of the hospice, fundraising for the charity is her way of giving back to the place where her husband was so well-cared for in his final days.

“I know how magical the care for him was, and for both myself and my children,” said the 48-year-old, whose two children, now 13 and nine, attend Highgate School.

“I don’t know what we would have done without it. There would not have been anywhere for us to go where we would have had the same level of care.

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“My husband was seen on a regular basis and they could pull all of his care into one place. When you are dying and very frail, you don’t want to spend lots of time going to lots of different places.”

Last week, volunteers armed with collection buckets outside the junior school, in Bishopswood Road, raised enough money within the first hour of fundraising to pay for a whole day’s worth of nursing at the hospice.

By Friday, they had raised enough to pay for five days’ worth of vital care and support for patients.

The money will help fund the hospice’s £3.4million refurbishment and provide services, such as specially trained hairdressers and make-up artists at the centre.

“My husband lost his hair, and after he lost it he didn’t want to go into a hairdressers with everyone knowing what had happened,” said Mrs Wyn-Jones, of Muswell Hill. “If you have had lots of chemotherapy, your face becomes quite thin. So to have somebody knowing how to lift your face is a comfort.”

The refurbishment works, named Project Butterfly, are due to be completed in May.

n Visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/en-GB/nurses-hospices/our-hospices/hampstead/Raise-funds-for-us to find out how to fundraise.