Two well known and much respected Bury St Edmunds market traders were remembered today when money, raised in their honour, was given to charity.
John Bennett and Geoffrey Hunt died from cancer in February, just days apart.
‘Geoff’ ran the tool store opposite Starbucks for more than 30 years while John retired two years ago but had sold prescription glasses from a stall outside the Bodyshop and Poundland for more than 15 years and occasionally helped his wife and daughter on their Curry With Love stall.
Last month, Bury’s traders donated prizes for a tombola and today the £610 raised was presented to Macmillan Cancer Research, a charity Geoff supported, and the Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House, which supported John at home.
Darren Old, chairman of the Bury branch of the National Market Traders’ Federation, said: “I was speaking to the families and we just thought ‘what else can we do to show our support?’ Words didn’t seem enough so we thought we’d do something more.”
He added: “Everyone made an effort because they were two well known characters from the market, well known and well respected, and we done them proud. I don’t think anyone thought twice about donating a gift or vouchers from their stall for the tombola.”
John’s daughter, Clare Bennett-Smith, said: “I thought it was lovely because Geoffrey died a week after dad and they were both long-term traders so it was nice that their deaths were marked in that way.”
Clare and her mum, Carol, will soon be introducing ‘The Daddy’ curry, a medium spice garlic chilli chicken curry, in John’s memory.
Nicola Clark, Macmillan’s West Norfolk and West Suffolk fund-raising manager, said: “It was really nice to go round and talk to the stall holders and say thank you because we’re 99 per cent supported by donations. We can’t do what we do without people holding fund-raising activities like this for us, so we’re very grateful.”
In Suffolk 12 people a day are diagnosed with cancer while six people a day die from the disease. In Norfolk that figure is higher with 15 people a day being diagnosed and seven a day losing their battle with the disease.
Mrs Clark said: “We want people to know that Macmillan isn’t here just for the people who have the cancer diagnosis, it’s for the people around them too, their friends, family, work colleagues, and we’re here as long as they need us.”
To find out more about the charity, go to www.macmillan.org.uk
For more on the Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House, visit www.norfolkhospice.org.uk