It’s payback time for grateful June

June Billings is raising money for 2 elephant charities. She had a rare form of cancer 10 years ago and had to retire and has set up the pink promise to raise money.
June Billings is raising money for 2 elephant charities. She had a rare form of cancer 10 years ago and had to retire and has set up the pink promise to raise money.
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AN ELEPHANT-mad cancer survivor is showing that she never forgets, with a year of fund-raising.

June Billings, from Mildenhall, underwent surgery on a rare form of oral cancer in 2002, having half her tongue removed and being left unable to produce saliva.

To mark 10 years since the surgery, June is taking on a year of charity fund-raising for her two passions – elephants and cancer research.

She said: “This is a chance to repay all the people and causes that have helped me through the last ten years.

“When I had surgery I was told that five years was a long time to survive afterwards.

“I’m now at 10 and working with the elephant charities has given me a purpose to keep going.”

Two elephant causes based in the Far East – Golden Triangle and Boonlotts Elephant Sanctuary (BLES) – will benefit from June’s efforts, as well as Cancer Research UK.

She already has £1,500 in the bank through two stunts in Thailand, one in October and the other this month.

The first involved June, 61, being covered in half a ton of fruit – paid for out of her own pocket – before elephants ate their way through.

Last week’s event saw June floating on a giant inflatable elephant while dressed up in a garish pink outfit.

Both fund-raisers were videoed and placed on June’s Facebook page, from which donations have poured in.

A trained elephant behaviourist, June hopes the money will help stop the mistreatment of the friendly giants.

“An elephant will never hurt someone unless they have been through absolute hell and that is what is happening to some of them.

“These charities can help stop that,” she said.

To follow June’s year of fund-raising, visit her Facebook page, June’s Pink Promise 2012.