Battling cancer, a much-loved retired Morpeth businessman made it his dying wish to raise funds and awareness for a charity supporting those affected by the life-threatening condition.
Determined to help others, Philip Rickard was involved in organising a week of events in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, to recognise the charity’s staff who helped and cared for him throughout his illness.
Tragically, the 78-year-old would not live to see the fruits of his labour, as he died during the special week of fund-raising, losing his cancer battle on Wednesday, May 31.
But poignantly, the money-making efforts were a huge success, collecting more than £3,000 for the cause.
It was the most fitting of tributes to Mr Rickard, who was a former senior partner of Rickards Chartered Surveyors.
And such overwhelming support from the community showed just how popular he was and how much his determination and bravery had touched people’s hearts.
He was helped in his efforts by lifelong friend and fellow businessman Richard Rutherford, the managing director of Rutherfords of Morpeth.
Mr Rutherford said: “I knew Philip since we were in our twenties, playing golf at Morpeth Golf Club. He was a very successful businessman, who was liked and respected.
“He came to see me about raising awareness of Macmillan and I immediately offered to help because Macmillan is a fantastic charity that does so much good work in helping people suffering from cancer and their families.
“It was moving to see the whole community come together to help him raise both awareness and funds for a wonderful charity that does so much good work.”
As part of the fund-raising efforts, Rutherfords held an event in its café, where customers could choose from a golf-themed menu, including Tee and a Sand Wedge, a green salad and toad-in- the-hole.
Rutherfords also staged a fashion show at Morpeth Golf Club to showcase the latest styles from the department store’s 2017 spring/summer ladieswear collection.
Both events raised £750, while the juniors, ladies and seniors sections at Morpeth Golf Club rallied round to organise a number of events.
Donations were received from golfers during ladies golf day,seniors golf day, a, junior golf event, crazy putting competition, a men’s competition day and proceeds from various raffles and competition fees.
Around £2,500 was raised by the golf club, but this figure is expected to rise following further events.
Morpeth Golf Club’s lady captain, Linda Gibson, said: “Speaking as lady captain on behalf of the lady members, we all have fond memories of Philip.
“His enthusiasm and intensity when putting projects together was stimulating and really inspiring.
“Everyone enjoyed being part of his Macmillan awareness week, trying to achieve what he had in mind. I also think that this week brought the whole club together as he would have liked.”
Macmillan says the number of people in Northumberland estimated to be living with and beyond cancer stands at more than 12,000 and this figure is set to rise in the future.
Macmillan’s fund-raising manager for Northumberland, Sarah Goldie, said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in helping to organise the week of fund-raising events for Macmillan. All events were fantastic and I am overwhelmed at how everyone came together as a community to make this happen.
“Morpeth Golf Club and Rutherfords have done an outstanding job and we cannot thank them enough.
“My thoughts are with Philip Rickard’s family and friends at this sad time. But, I am very proud to say that he has left an inspiring legacy behind, to raise awareness of Macmillan and the cause. We are truly grateful and he will live in our memories forever.
“The awareness and money raised will go a long way to helping people affecting by cancer, their family and friends, giving them the support they need in Northumberland”.
Macmillan’s ambition is to reach and improve the lives of everyone living with cancer and to inspire millions of others to do the same. For details, visit www.macmillan.org.uk