Morecambe dad’s legacy to live on

From left Dr Ruth Board is presented with research project funds as their fathers legacy by Oliver, James and Alex Benjamin, watched by Rosemeres Cathy Skidmore.
From left Dr Ruth Board is presented with research project funds as their fathers legacy by Oliver, James and Alex Benjamin, watched by Rosemeres Cathy Skidmore.

The three sons of a Morecambe man, who died from skin cancer, have ensured their father’s legacy will be to “shed light” on the disease after they helped raise £122,000 for charity.

James Benjamin, 25 and his brothers Alex, 22 and Oliver 19, raised the money for projects being funded by Rosemere Cancer Foundation, by joining mum Deborah and some 60 plus family and friends in braving the chilly waters of Lake Windermere to take part in last year’s Great North Swim.

Their places were sponsored by estate agency Matthews Benjamin and Fine and Country Lakes, of which their dad David Benjamin was managing director.

David was just 53-years-old when he died and was treated for skin cancer a number of times.

Following the swim, the family held a fundraising celebration and working closely with the Rosemere fundraising team, also helped secure a major grant of £100,000 for the charity’s work, which will fund a number of major projects for cancer patients in Lancashire and South Cumbria.

With all the money now in, the sons travelled to the region’s specialist cancer treatment centre, the Rosemere Cancer Centre at the Royal Preston Hospital, where their father had been a patient, to present it to trust and corporate fundraiser Cathy Skidmore and his former consultant, Dr Ruth Board.

Dr Board, who also works as senior lecturer at Manchester University, is leading a project to determine whether a melanoma (skin cancer) fingerprint can be detected in the blood samples of skin cancer patients using spectroscopy.

Spectroscopy is a branch of chemistry that uses light technology to look for patterns that could be an indication of the disease.

Already proving a new diagnostic tool for other cancers, if it works for melanomas, it could mean the development of a future screening blood test. Initially, the test could be offered to those already treated for the disease as some patients carry a higher risk of it returning.

Dr Board said: “Our work has been ongoing for the last 18 months or so and we have nearly 100 patients enrolled in the study.

“The work so far has been concentrating on optimising the technology and this money will allow the project to continue and allow the analysis of the patient samples.”