Shona's dad will carry on fundraising

A DISAPPOINTING turn out has failed to dampen the spirits of an Ipswich man raising money from the cancer which ended his 10-year-old daughter's life.Despite the good weather there were only hundreds and not thousands at St Joseph's College, Ipswich, on Saturday for a day of live music and attractions in aid of the Shona Smile appeal.

A DISAPPOINTING turn out has failed to dampen the spirits of an Ipswich man raising money from the cancer which ended his 10-year-old daughter's life.

Despite the good weather there were only hundreds and not thousands at St Joseph's College, Ipswich, on Saturday for a day of live music and attractions in aid of the Shona Smile appeal.

Topping the bill was a Dire Straits tribute band, chosen because the rockers had supported brave Shona Gill, who died of cancer in 2004, during her fight against rhabdomyosarcoma.

Pete Gill, father of Shona and director of the charity, said: “It was disappointing, because we were trying to raise money for children and it looks like we have probably made a loss.


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“I'm not sure what we did wrong - it could have been the wrong day, a lot of people go on holiday at this time of year.”

However he is pushing on with plans to stage a bigger and better event next year, which is planned to take place over two days.

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He said: “We will certainly have to sit down and have a think about where we went wrong. It is too early to say at the moment, but it has not put me off the idea of raising money in the slightest.

“We have got 12 bands and some have travelled from as far as Northern Ireland and the North East, so we are very grateful to them and to St Joseph's College for letting us use their grounds.”

In the end only around 300-400 people came along, rather than the thousands that were expected.

And Status Quo tribute act On The Level failed to play Shona's favourite song - Burning Bridges - as a member left the group due to a disagreement shortly before the performance, Mr Gill said.

SHONA Smile Foundation is a registered charity set up to raise money for children suffering from rhabdomyosarcoma, a form of cancer.

It was founded by Peter Gill, a police officer whose daughter Shona died of the illness in 2004, aged 10.

They aim to help in one of several ways including giving cash donations to families who may be suffering hardship due to the financial cost of cancer, or by making a child's dream come true.

In the future as the foundation grows it is hoped they will be able to fund research into rhabdomyosarcoma which accounts for between five and eight per cent of childhood cancers.

Seventy per cent of those who develop the illness are in the first ten years of their life.

ANYONE who would like to make a donation to the Shona Smile Foundation should visit www.shonassmile.org.

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