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Sunday, 21 December 2014

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Barrow woman honoured by charity for her tireless support

A COURAGEOUS woman who channelled her grief into giving other families hope has been honoured by the charity she works tirelessly to support.

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OFFERING HOPE: Barrow woman Liz Cassells has been named as the newest ambassador for the Blue Skies Hospitals Fund

Liz Cassells has been named as the newest ambassador for the Blue Skies Hospitals Fund, which aims to improve life for patients at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals.

It comes in recognition of the 52-year-old’s work to open Duncan House, which provides on-site accommodation for the loved ones of those being treated for leukaemia at the specialised Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

The project was the brainchild of Ms Cassell’s late husband, Graham Duncan, who lost his battle with the disease in January 2010.

Ms Cassells, of Thornfield Park, Barrow, said: “When my husband was a patient it became apparent the amount of people who were travelling there from the Furness area.

“I shared with them the financial dilemmas when you are down a wage and travelling every day, and the emotional strain on the whole of the family.

“Travelling 160 miles a day when your concerns are with your significant other is extremely stressful, so to have somewhere like Duncan House seemed to be the correct answer.

“My husband always said that when he came home from hospital he would ensure there was some sort of premises for people to have a little normality.”

Ms Cassells began working on the project with Blue Skies almost immediately after Mr Duncan passed away.

The house opened in March 2011, thanks to the efforts of a number of fundraisers who continue to help make the £10,000 needed annually to run it.

Ms Cassells has been well supported by close friends and family who have come up with a wide range of innovative fundraising ideas.

Being made a Blue Skies Ambassador means she will feature in videos on the charity’s website, work with its magazine and encourage more people to help raise funds.

She said: “Being asked has left me a bit speechless, I had such a humbling feeling. You do what you believe you should do, and knowing that it’s so well thought of to be given that responsibility, from an amazing fundraising team, is very touching. I hope I do them proud.”

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