Why seven Sunderland landmarks will be lit up purple this Friday

Penshaw Monument has been lit up for a number of occasions and causes in recent years.
Penshaw Monument has been lit up for a number of occasions and causes in recent years.
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Seven iconic Wearside locations are set to be lit up purple this week to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer.

Campaigner Julie-Ann Shepherd has made it her mission to highlight the early warning signs of pancreatic cancer after losing her dad to the illness.

Dennis Stothard with daughter Julie-Ann Shepherd.

Dennis Stothard with daughter Julie-Ann Shepherd.

The 36-year-old contacted Sunderland City Council asking them to cover Wearside in a purple glow by lighting up the likes of the city’s new Northern Spire Bridge and iconic Penshaw Monument on Friday, November 16.

Julie-Ann was inspired to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer following the sad passing of her dad Dennis Stothard, who lost his battle against pancreatic cancer in March 2017, aged just 66.

The former traffic warden, from Farringdon, retired in August 2016, but was diagnosed with the illness in December that year after turning yellow with jaundice.

He had dismissed earlier signs as getting old.

Dennis Stothard with wife Ann Stothard.

Dennis Stothard with wife Ann Stothard.

The much-loved grandfather, who was married to Ann Stothard, 62, sadly died four months later on March 31, 2017, at home surrounded by his family.

Julie-Ann said: “We’re all aware of the warning signs for the likes of breast cancer and prostate cancer.

“However, pancreatic cancer seems to fall under the radar and not many people are aware of the signs and symptoms to look out for.

“The illness is known as the silent killer because in many situations, by the time it is diagnosed it is already too late to offer any treatment.

“Only 20% of people diagnosed with this wicked disease live more than a year after diagnosis.”

November is the chosen month to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer and Pancreatic Cancer UK’s colour is purple.

Other landmarks set to be lit up as part of the effort this Friday include Keel Square; High Street West; Market Square; the lighthouse at Cliffe Park and Fulwell Mill.

Mum-of-five Julie-Ann added: “We’re really excited to see them all lit up and are planning to drive to each one as a family where some of us will be toasting my dad with a whisky.

“The effort is part of a national campaign to raise awareness and loads of cities will be landing their own landmarks.

“The aim is to raise awareness for an earlier diagnosis.”