Legend Joe Longthorne’s Rosemere legacy
Family and friends of showbusiness legend, Joe Longthorne MBE, are gifting more than £880 to Rosemere Cancer Foundation for the charity to spend on making patient areas at Rosemere Cancer Centre, Lancashire and South Cumbria’s specialist cancer treatment centre at the Royal Preston Hospital, more comfortable and relaxing.
Their donation was raised through a Go Fund Me page that was set up following the singer and impressionist’s death last August by his former partner of 25 years Rita Lamey, his sister Ann and family friend Simon Woolston, supported by other family and friends in Joe’s home city of Hull.
Rita, who also once worked as Joe’s PA and fan club president, said: “This is all about Joe. We initially set up the page to raise funds for a memorial statue to Joe in Hull, but then we thought, what would Joe really want? He’d say why have a statue for birds to crap on when you can use the money to help people. Joe received his MBE for services to charity and throughout his career had always worked to raise money for cancer charities and charities supporting the hard of hearing as a clip round the ear as a child had perforated Joe’s eardrum, which meant he was deaf in one ear. Joe was the kind of man who would give you his last penny.”
The money raised via the page so far at £4,430 will help not only patients of Rosemere Cancer Centre, but also those attending cancer units at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, Leeds Royal Infirmary, Manchester Royal Infirmary and the Queen’s Cancer Centre at Castle Hill Hospital in Hull as the total donation of £4,400 is to be equally divided among them.
Apart from the Hull centre, Joe had been a patient at all of the others having first been diagnosed with lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, in 1987. In 2014, he was diagnosed with mouth cancer. He was 64-years-old when he died at his Blackpool home.
Rita added: “Joe knew what it was like to have all these necessary, but invasive tests and treatments. He knew it was important to ‘feel human’ when going to hospital and that the surroundings in which you are treated have a lot to do with that. He knew that pleasant, comfortable surroundings while you’re waiting for your appointment and when you’re being treated are important to how you cope, which is why we think he’d been delighted at what we’re doing.”
Dan Hill, Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s chief officer, said: “We are extremely grateful for this donation. Joe must have been a man of great empathy. In recent years, there has been a lot of scientific research published on the positive effects in terms of outcome on treating patients in 'healing environments’ – something that Joe seems to have been instinctively aware
of. We have worked and will continue to work to create the best possible surroundings for patients attending the cancer centre in Preston and the other cancer units across our territory.”
Rosemere Cancer Foundation works to bring world class cancer treatments and services to cancer patients being treated not only at Rosemere Cancer Centre, but also at another eight hospital cancer units across Lancashire and South Cumbria, including that at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. The charity funds cutting edge equipment, research, training and other cancer
services and therapies that the NHS is unable to afford. For further information, visit www.rosemere.org.uk