Military VS Cancer | By Sea, Land, Air and All, together let’s make cancer fall


A group of service, civillian and ex-servicemen who forged a tight bond in the Royal Navy and lost a close colleague to cancer raised a staggering £28,000.00 for charity after organising a black tie event attended by 235 people at Slaley Hall.

The group called Military vs Cancer gifted the money between Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK with the stipulation that the money be ring fenced for cancer services here in the North East.

It is the latest in a series of events organised by the group over the last few years and featured glamorous raffle prizes including a personally gifted limited edition watch by rockstar and airline pilot Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden fame. The event also attracted people from Newcastle United FC and Sunderland Athletic FC.

Military vs Cancer founding members are comprised of David and Shelley Bathgate from Nottingham who tragically lost five members from across both sides of their family to cancer, Andrew Gibney brother of deceased colleague Sean Gibney, Peter Moody now at the helm of Gateshead based waste management company Gap Group (NE) Limited, and Matt Munday.

Peter Moody managing director at Gap Group (NE) Limited and former chief petty officer in the Royal Navy said: “Its been a real honour to be able to help in whatever way I can the Military vs Cancer fundraising effort and I know from my discussions with the group that we are applying to become a charity in our own right, a really exiting development. In addition to this we are planning another event for next year at Slaley Hall.”

David Bathgate said: “We are a close group forged through shared service in the Royal Navy and it hit us all hard when Sean died. We wanted to do something for his wife and daughter, so we held an event which was a success and we all felt good about that and wanted to build some momentum.

“There is great camaraderie in the forces, we always have representatives from the British Army, Royal Air Force as well as the Royal Navy and we didn’t want it to end there.”

“More recently my wife Shelley and I went through an awful period where between us we lost five members of our family to cancer in two years including my brother John, it was a truly terrible time.

“Sean and my brother and the other family members all died from bowel cancer which is why Shelley and I are so passionate about raising awareness and sending the message that it is so important that symptoms that are persistent and unusual are acted upon.”

“My brother had been living in South Africa and had ignored what he was experiencing my father flew out and brought him back to the UK. Literally within 24 hours of him landing he went into a coma and never egained consciousness.”

“It is critical that people present to their doctors if they experience any symptoms that are out of the ordinary, positive outcomes are so much more likely from early diagnosis.”

Following the continued success of the Military vs Cancer group they are going through the process of becoming a charity themselves.

Shelley Bathgate said: “We plan to continue to organise fundraising events harnessing the power of the military as a powerful fundraising tool. This will mean events taking place across the country and raising money for targeted cancer services that we identify we want to support.”

“It can be a lasting legacy to the people we loved that weve lost. What is better than that?”

Jill Campbell, Macmillan Cancer Support area fund raising manager for the North East said: “We are just absolutely delighted to receive this kind of donation and we are so grateful. It is no secret that Macmillan and the charity sector in general has seen fundraising revenues slashed in the challenging conditions we have all faced over the last 18 months. And that this has come at a time when our services are needed more than ever.”

“Talking about cancer can be tough and our cancer information and support specialists offer a listening ear. If you would like to speak, the Macmillan Support Line is a free and confidential phone service for people living with and affected by cancer. Please call us on 0808 808 00 00 (Seven days a week, 8am to 8pm).

Sam Moralee Cancer Research UK relationship manager for the North East & Cumbria said: “We are blown away by the support from Military vs Cancer and really cant thank everyone enough for organising this amazing event, despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic.”

“Covid19 has slowed us down but the fight against cancer never stops and our scientists in Newcastle and working harder than ever to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.”

“We are delighted that the funds raised will be restricted to our local work and look forward to working with Military vs Cancer as they go from strength to strength. One in two of us will develop cancer in our lifetime but thanks to research survival rates have doubled in the last 40 years. With support such as this our mission is to see three in four people surviving cancer by 2034. Together we will beat cancer.”

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