25th anniversary tributes to Pat Seed

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NATIONAL Health Service bosses have paid tribute to cancer campaigner Pat Seed as the 25th anniversary of her death approaches this weekend.

It was directly as a result of Pat's drive to raise funds which help to change the face of the NHS through changes in the law.

Sunday, August 2, will mark 25 years since the death of Garstang freelance journalist Pat Seed, who was diagnosed with cancer in 1976 and became a patient at Christie Hospital, Manchester.

During treatment Pat was astonished to learn that the specialist cancer centre would have to wait five years before they could afford a CT scanner – technology that examines all parts of the body to detect where a tumour is and how large it is.

The 1948 Health Act, then in force, forbade them appealing to the public for extra funds to get such equipment.

Undaunted, Pat contacted North Fylde MP, Sir Walter Clegg, a first step in a ladder of communication that led to a Health Act amendment which allowed all hospitals to appeal for funds.

She went on to set up the pioneering and hugely successful Pat Seed Appeal Fund, which was the first of its kind.

Nationwide support brought in nearly 2million and within three years Christie's first CT scanner was installed in a purpose-built department.

Pat received an MBE and many other awards for her bravery and fundraising and became a national celebrity, meeting royalty, and writing about her experiences. She was even the subject of a 'This is Your Life' TV profile.

Pat, whose husband Geoffrey had died in the Abbeystead explosion, lived until 1984 when the fund stood at just over 3 million.

After she died her former secretary Pauline Heaton of Catterall and fellow supporters vowed to continue the work their friend had begun.

It has since raised more than 9.5 million for Christie Hospital and has financed four CT scanners, one MRI Scanner, a PET-CT 3-D imaging unit, lasers and many other items of equipment vital in the fight against cancer.

Running of the fund was handed over to the Christie charity in March last year.

Pauline said: "Pat was one in a million who touched the heart of the nation with her courage and determination. She went on fundraising until the very end and inspired so many people to do the same. We were so proud to continue her wonderful legacy and I know she would've been thrilled by what we managed to achieve."

Director of appeals at the Christie charity, Toni Leden, said: "Thanks to Pat and then to everyone who helped keep this fund going, our patients have been able to benefit from the very latest technology.

"Despite being ill with cancer, Pat had the drive and resolve to change the law – and made a difference to not just The Christie but to every hospital across the country. She was a true inspiration."

Pat is fondly remembered by many friends in Garstang. A memorial garden was created in her honour several years ago next to the northern Park Hill Road roundabout.

She will be especially remembered at St Thomas's Church, Garstang (where Pat and her husband Geoffrey worshipped), on Sunday when a candle will be lit in her memory.

* If anyone wants to donate to The Christie in memory of Pat Seed's 25th anniversary visit www.christies.org or send donations to Appeals Office, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Wilmslow Road, Withington, Manchester, M20 4BX.