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Norfolk ‘Walk for Mandy’ event goes global

20 March 2017

A local fundraising walk organised in memory of a Wells-Next-The-Sea woman who died of pancreatic cancer last year has ‘gone global’ with friends all around the world joining in to pay tribute.

Mandy Swift with Murphy

Mandy Swift was 54 when she died in September 2016, just five weeks after she was diagnosed. The Walk for Mandy event around the Holkham estate in Norfolk on 25 March was organised by Mandy’s husband Robin and family friend Nick Clare as a way to remember Mandy and raise funds for research.  But word spread quickly and friends and colleagues from around the world who couldn’t attend decided to organise their own Walks for Mandy too.

Worldwide, there are currently 15 co-ordinators overseeing events in Miami, USA; the Netherlands; the Cayman Islands; Australia; Thailand, and Madagascar. There’s also a ‘Ski for Mandy’ in Meribel, France, a ‘Roller-skate’ for Mandy in Germany and a ‘Swim for Mandy’ in St Kitts in the West Indies.  “There are more than 225 people taking part so far, and numbers are still growing,” says Nick.    

“Mandy was a truly amazing woman who was always there for friends and family,” he says. “She gave up nursing to focus on her helping her son through school when he was diagnosed with dyslexia and retrained as a special needs teacher – and ended up running her own successful business devising and selling teaching aids to help other dyslexic children. 

“Any excuse to have fun, Mandy and Robin were there. They were such wonderful company and such good friends, it’s no surprise to anyone who knows the family that so many people want to show their love and support.”

Robin and Mandy had not long moved into their brand-new house in Wells and were looking forward to their daughter’s wedding when Mandy was diagnosed out of the blue.  Tragically, she died before the wedding took place at St Mary’s in Holme-Next-The-Sea.  “The shock of losing her, and so quickly, was – and still is - profound.  It’s still hard to believe she’s gone,” says Nick.

“We hope the Walk for Mandy will be a joyful event, bringing all those who loved her together, no matter where they are. Mandy always loved the idea of ‘going global’ with her Hands On Teaching materials and celebrated the sale of her products into a new country with an extra ‘glass of fizz’. She’d definitely have loved the idea of expanding this fundraiser to all corners of the globe,” Nick says.

All proceeds from the fundraiser will be donated to Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund (PCRF). 

Says PCRF Chief Executive, Maggie Blanks: “It’s a lovely way to remember Mandy, who clearly had a huge impact on so many people’s lives.  We’re extremely grateful to all those taking part – wherever they are. It’s only through research that we will beat pancreatic cancer, and the money raised in tribute to Mandy will be used to fund world-class projects that will progress new ways to diagnose and treat this disease.”

A Just Giving page has been set up for online donations at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Nick-Clare

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