Researching the cures


Picture perfect! John’s lucky “right time, right place” moment

The selection of Christmas cards available in the 2018 catalogue has a very special addition – a card created from a photo of alpacas in the snow, taken by PCRF supporter John Westwood (64) of Stock in Essex.

John is currently undergoing chemotherapy, after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017.

When we heard how John had already used the photo to raise funds for research, we couldn’t let it stop there – the photo is just too good!

John explains the story behind the photo:

“The picture was taken about 7 years ago. I’ve always loved photography and nearly always have my camera with me. The three alpacas were pets of a lady in our village who owned a field. I’d seen them several times, and had wanted to photograph them, but frustratingly they were always spread all over the field or too far away.  Then one year, we had lots of snow – quite unusual in our neck of the woods – and my wife Joyce and I took a walk around the village, me with my camera as ever, as everything looked so pretty.  Passing the field that day, there they were – all three of them lined up perfectly!  Talk about being in the right place at exactly the right time!   

“The photos were uploaded to my computer alongside all the others, and there they stayed. Then in March 2017, after receiving the shock diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, I decided I wanted to fundraise for research into the disease.

“I hit on the idea of using some of my photos for Christmas cards, and decided I would make them myself, selecting the alpaca photo, one of a rather fat robin and another of our local church. I didn’t really start properly promoting them to friends and family on Facebook until October and they took off in a way none of us expected. Much to Joyce’s horror, we had to set up a bit of a production plant at home, to make sure everyone got their orders in time for Christmas! It took over our lives for a while. Even Joyce’s 91-year-old mother who lives with us pitched in, helping to fold and pack the cards! We sold over £1200 worth – and the alpaca photo was the one that people really loved. When I sent the funds raised to Maggie Blanks and told her how it had all come about, she took it from there, really.

“To say I’m chuffed to bits to see the card commercially produced is definitely an understatement.  It looks superb and I’m proud that it’s continuing to raise funds for PCRF. What’s really funny is that Joyce has bought some from the PCRF catalogue – I thought she’d be sick of that photo by now!”