Bill on giving back

Bill sits on the sofa in his living room
Bill sits on the sofa in his living room

Bill’s wife Betty died of pancreatic cancer in July 2010. The year after, Bill and his daughters decided to organise an event they called ‘Betty’s Big Bash’ to raise money for Macmillan. They raised more than £11,000, a fundraising record in their region.

Bill's story

The care and help we received from Macmillan was outstanding. It prompted my daughters to suggest organising a charity event to remember their Mam, with all proceeds going to the charity. In January 2011, we began to organise ‘Betty's Big Bash’, which was to be held on 1 April 2011.

Macmillan printed the tickets and posters, while providing balloons, banners and pens for the event. We hoped to sell 180 tickets and raise approximately £2,500.

It quickly became apparent, after talking to friends, family, clubs and businesses that we had greatly underestimated the number and generosity of people wishing to buy tickets or donate.

We sold 300 tickets and got thousands of pounds worth of auction and raffle prizes – and that’s no exaggeration. We had two family holidays, a signed David Beckham shirt from Manchester United, a Lee Westwood shirt, the 18th flag from St Andrews signed by Jack Nicklaus and a £800 watch from an oil company in Aberdeen. On top of this, the council let us have the hall for nothing.

We had a live band, a professional dance team, cabaret, auction, raffle, bingo and a meal.

When I found out we had raised £11,000 on the night, I knew all the time and effort had been worthwhile. It took us three months to organise the event. Tony, our Macmillan nurse, was there along with the rest of the Macmillan team, and he gave a speech on the night. That was really important, because he was the reason we wanted to do something for Macmillan.

I think the night was so successful for two reasons. Firstly, because of the number of people who actually knew Betty – her friends, work colleagues and family. And secondly, because it was for Macmillan. That's why it was such a success.

We broke all fundraising records in the region that night. The mayor presented us with a shield, and the papers were getting in touch. I wasn’t sure about that at first, but then I realised publicity for Macmillan had to be a plus. We even made the front page in a paper up in Scotland. It made us feel so proud, and pleased that we’d done it for Betty and Macmillan.

Watch: all about Bill's experiences

Watch: all about Bill's experiences