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Liverpool Echo article from 2005

Updated: Mar 23, 2021

How Liverpool ECHO readers can support this year's Pause for Hope service In just a few weeks' time Liverpool will be staging its 15th Pause for Hope service, which aims to ease the burden of cancer. And this year, in support of the much-loved event, we are appealing for readers to send in their "Pictures of Hope". The ECHO will feature as many of these photographs as we can in the build-up to the service, which will take place at 3pm on Sunday October 6 at Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ The King. The service was launched by Professor Ray Donnelly, founder and president of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. And he says: "We would love to see photographs that tell people's story of cancer. They could be of themselves or their loved ones - and they could be happy ones of people who have recovered from, or are in the process of recovering from, cancer. "Or the photos could be of someone they have lost and want to remember - showing birthday or Christmas celebrations. It's all about people's personal memories and stories which highlight their cancer journey." Please email your pictures, with full captions, to liverpoolcommunities@gmail .com As well as a caption, please include your name, address and - in case we need to contact you - a daytime telephone number. While anyone who would like more information on the service or to offer help is asked to email raymund.donnelly@roycastle .org It was in 1999 that Prof Donnelly, 77, from Formby, first brought together many of the Merseyside cancer charities for a day of prayer. The first service was held in St Francis Xavier's Church in Everton and with the charities' help Prof Donnelly developed the initiative, with the annual service alternating between the city's two cathedrals. It aims to reach out to everyone affected by cancer or involved in providing care, as well as those with responsibility for allocating resources and scientists seeking new treatments and cures. The charities supporting the Foundation this year include Marie Curie Cancer Care, The Lily Centre, the Linda McCartney Centre, Macmillan Cancer Support and Clatterbridge Cancer Centre. Prof Donnelly says: "It's unique in that it brings together cancer charities. All charities do good work but they are always, to some extent, in competition. We have managed to bring them together with a spiritual dimension and this is of great value." And he also pays tribute to fellow organising committee member Sylvia Lewis, for persuading him to keep Pause for Hope going. He explains: "She's been my right-hand woman for all of the years the service has taken place. About five years ago, when I felt it was a getting a little bit much organising it year after year because of all my other responsibilities, she was the one who persuaded me to carry on. I just needed a little push and was very pleased she gave me such strong support." Sylvia, 72, from Rainhill, who is the grandmother of champion charity fund-raiser Michelle Lewis MBE, knows more than most about the enormous value of the service. Now retired, she was a fund-raising manager for Macmillan's, having previously been a nurse/midwife for around 40 years - and in 1988, when she was 47, Sylvia successfully battled cervical cancer. Recalling the day she was preparing to go into surgery, she says: "I got these terrible shakes and my consultant gynaecologist, Cecil Moss, who died two years ago, asked 'What's the matter?' I said 'I just don't want to die. I've got too much to offer'. He put his hand on mine and said 'Don't worry, Sylvia, only the good die young'! "He was just amazing. Being a nurse I knew what would have happened if I hadn't checked out what I was right to think was a cyst on my ovary - which led to me also having a smear test. I had severe, stage three cancer and underwent a full hysterectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I was very lucky." Her life and career explain why Sylvia can see the Pause for Hope service through many people's eyes. She says: "Having had cancer, it makes you very thankful that you are still able to do what you're doing. And you can very much empathise with so many other people who come to the services." Prof Donnelly recalls the late former Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev Lord David Sheppard, arriving for the October 2004 service: "He was in a wheelchair, looking ill. Then he gave his homily and bounced down the aisle on the arm of his wife, Grace. It obviously gave him a big lift. That's what the service does for people." In his sermon, Lord Sheppard, who died the following March, spoke of his own battle with cancer and urged sufferers to find acceptance, but to never give up. Prof Donnelly, meanwhile, successfully fought bladder cancer eight years ago - and he says: "I forgot about it. I have to remind myself I had it." Of his ecumenical service, he stresses: "I set it up to be inclusive. That's why we alternate between the two cathedrals. And all the free churches are fully involved, while it's also open to people who don't normally go to church." And he and Sylvia agree that the most moving part is when candles are lit by members of the congregation for someone with cancer, or in memory of someone lost to cancer (this year's musical accompaniment will come from the choir of St Jerome's in Formby, while the guest speaker will be Eithne Browne). Prof Donnelly adds: "There are tears, of course, but we were determined that it would not be a doom and gloom service - that there'd be a message of hope." Pause for Hope aims "to ease, through prayer, the burden of cancer on individuals, their loved ones and the community and to pray the day will come quickly when all cancers can be prevented or cured" - and that message has also been heard at similar services in Chester, Glasgow and the Isle of Man, while one is also being planned for Manchester. And your "Pictures of Hope" can help make this year's service in Liverpool even more special. ECHO comment: Pause - to feel proud ON this page today we preview the 15th Pause for Hope service - and ask our readers to send us their Pictures of Hope. And it is only fitting, in doing this, that we also pause for a moment - and pay tribute to all those who have been involved in this service of comfort and hope. At the top of the list, of course, is Professor Ray Donnelly, the founder and president of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. Prof Donnelly launched the foundation, initially known as the Lung Cancer Fund, in 1990. And nine years later, it was his idea to bring together many of the cancer charities in Merseyside for a day of prayer for those affected by cancer. He called it Pause for Hope. As we have with the Lung Cancer Foundation, the ECHO has always been proud to support these services - and proud of those who work so hard to make them happen. Everyone in Merseyside, even those who have been lucky enough to have no direct experience themselves, will know someone who has been affected by cancer. And those who are affected greatly appreciate all the support they are given, from so many sources. The Pause for Hope service has become a landmark event in our city - and such has been its impact that other cities have staged their own versions. Where Liverpool leads, it seems, others follow. A tremendous amount of work goes into organising each service, but the organising committee sees the value of its labours each year - they just have to look at the faces of those who attend the services. It's an uplifting service which sets out to "ease, through prayer, the burden of cancer on individuals, their loved ones and the community" - and it certainly does that.

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