CLAN effort defies economic downturn

ORGANISERS of the CLAN 1,2,3 appeal will be celebrating the festive period with the news that funds raised for a new cancer centre in Aberdeen were inching towards the £150,000 mark as The Shetland Times went to press this week.

The total raised in Shetland had yesterday reached more than £144,000, far exceeding the end of year target of £100,000, with several major events boosting the coffers in the days leading up to Christmas.

It means the Shetland comm-unity has coughed up around £1,000 a day since the appeal began in August, a timeframe which has coincided with a severe economic downturn, which CLAN committee member Willie Shannon described as “absolutely phenomenal”.

He said: “It’s a fantastic achievement. I don’t think any of us on the CLAN committee expected to raise so much in such a short space of time. It’s a reflection of the Shetland community putting their shoulder to the wheel, especially at such a difficult economic time – it really says a lot for the community.”

Mr Shannon said there would be a big push over the next six months as the Shetland element of the appeal is only running until the summer of 2009, as the committee is conscious that such high-profile appeals can detract from other charities’ fund-raising efforts.

He paid glowing tribute to the enduring ability of the community to get behind appeals for good causes, pointing to the success of the CAT scanner appeal and the fact that Shetland raised more than any other community in the UK for a recent lifeboat appeal.

CLAN 1,2,3 events in the past few days have included an impressive take of £4,193 from the Pearl Hunter concert, while the coastguard open day at Sumburgh 10 days ago raised £3,901.

There were also hefty donations from a number of organisations, including £1,400 from Sodexho and £1,350 from Whalsay Golf Club, while the CLAN shop had another excellent week, taking in £1,500. A carol concert in the Town Hall on Sunday, meanwhile, raised £409 and there has been a steady stream of cash donated by individuals through Christmas cards.

Members of the Shetland Choral Society sang in the museum on Monday and raised £82 during their performance. Society member Marion Ockendon said: “Folk are very generous at this time of year – it doesn’t seem to matter how many times you ask them, they seem to come with money.”

CLAN 1,2,3 treasurer John Telford said the generosity of Shetlanders was amazing at a time of year when there are so many other demands on them.

The appeal only broke through the £100,000 barrier locally in late November and is due to run until next summer. Shetland’s contributions are cash in the bank as opposed to pledges of money.

The total raised by the campaign as a whole stood at just over £1.4 million last month but CLAN 1,2,3 is working towards getting the £5 million needed to get the new cancer support centre in Aberdeen built and to help with running costs after it opens.

Similar fund-raising efforts are under way in Orkney and Grampian, as patients and family members from these areas make use of the accommodation CLAN provides while they are having cancer treatment.

The existing CLAN Haven at Rosemount Church sees 10,000 visitors a year, including many from the Northern Isles, but statistics point to a 20 per cent rise in demand for the service by the end of the next decade.


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