Friends hold fundraiser to show support for dying mum

Bev Connolly (seated third from the left) pictured with family and friends at the fundraiser for St Benedict's Hospice at Houghton Rugby Club in Dairy Lane.

Bev Connolly (seated third from the left) pictured with family and friends at the fundraiser for St Benedict's Hospice at Houghton Rugby Club in Dairy Lane.

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FRIENDS have mounted a cash campaign to help the hospice supporting a mum who has terminal cancer.

Bev Connolly beat breast cancer a decade ago, but her health began to suffer again a year ago.

The 46-year-old, from Easington Lane, has been told she will not recover after a tumour was found in her brain, with the cancer having since spread to her bones, lung and liver.

She has drawn-up a list of places to visit and has recently undergone an operation to remove cancer from her elbow, which has reduced the pain she was suffering and increased her movement.

The former Springboard worker, who had supported hard-to-engage pupils at Houghton Kepier School, is being offered help through St Benedict’s Hospice and Macmillan nurse Tracey Yardley, who is based at Ryhope.

Friends Linzi Milley, 31, Paula Lydiatt, 42, and Marguerite Harvey, 37, who know Bev through First Herrington Scouts, where she is a leader, and Houghton Rugby Club hosted an afternoon Prosecco tea, raising £3,500. They initially planned to sell 50 tickets, but ended up selling five times as many, and had to set up five sittings to meet demand from friends, family and wellwishers.

Bev Connolly (seated third from the left) pictured with family and friends at the fundraiser for St Benedict's Hospice at Houghton Rugby Club in Dairy Lane.

Bev Connolly (seated third from the left) pictured with family and friends at the fundraiser for St Benedict's Hospice at Houghton Rugby Club in Dairy Lane.

Bev, who is married to tiler Paul, 44, and is mum to Jamie, 18, Oliver, 11, and stepson Liam, 23, was on hand to see the turn out, who enjoyed a huge spread of cakes, sandwiches, tea and coffee.

She said: “This is amazing. People have been so generous, I’ve cried three times.

“St Benedict’s and my nurse have been so great, I couldn’t cope without either.

“It’s not just at the hospice, but Tracey comes to the house and has sorted out so much stuff for me.”

Paula, whose bosses at Gentoo helped with the tea event by providing flowers for the tables, said: “It’s been absolutely awesome.

“I started it through a Facebook page and after just 17 minutes, I’d sold 49 tickets, and I said ‘It’s going to be a bit bigger than I thought’. It’s just been amazing.”

A raffle and auction, which included donations from Newcastle Falcons rugby team and Sunderland AFC, also boosted the funds on Saturday, with cakes also donated by other supporters.

Marguerite and Nick Milley, 30, Linzi’s brother, will take part in the London Marathon in April, with friend Gemma Younghusband, an assistant manager of student support at Oxclose Community Academy, to organise a non-uniform day in Bev’s honour.