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Wetherspoon ‘raising £1.6m a year for cancer charity’

A partnership between JD Wetherspoon and cancer charity CLIC Sargent, born of a chance meeting of the organisations’ bosses on a train 14 years ago, is reported to be raising £1.6m a year to support young cancer patients.

Caroline Walters of Wetherspoons with CLIC Sargent charity beneficiaries Tyler Hart and Matilda Somervell

Fundraisers for JD Wetherspoon are reported to have raised a total of £13m so far to support young cancer patients through the CLIC Sargent charity.

The sum raised by Wetherspoon’s 24,000 workforce vastly exceeds the initial £500,000 target set when pub chain founder Tim Martin fortuitously found himself sat opposite the then chief executive of the charity on a train.

The pair struck up a conversation and were inspired to launch a partnership, which has continued to grow as Wetherspoons staff across the country have beaten fundraising targets year after year.

The most recent £1m was raised by Wetherspoon fundraisers in just seven months, and included more than £400,000 raised from an annual five-a-side football tournament in which more than 500 pub teams took part. Hundreds of thousands of pounds were also raised by staff and customers taking part in events including quizzes, raffles, runs and other challenges.

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Two teenagers who have been supported by the charity are Tyler Hart and Matilda (Tilly) Somervell (pictured).

Tyler is coming to the end of an intensive course of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

His mother, Sue, said: “I met a CLIC Sargent social worker Jan Roberts and she offered us a grant of £170, which was a massive help with our debts piling up.

“We got on really well and if I had any worries I could text her or phone her. When I was struggling I could just talk to her easily and it really helped.”

Tilly’s family stayed at Paul’s House, CLIC Sargent’s Home from Home in London, during her treatment for thyroid cancer. This helped them avoid a regular three-hour round trip.

Her mother Jo said: “CLIC Sargent feels like another line of defence – it’s all a battle and sometimes you don’t feel like fighting. Without CLIC Sargent it would’ve been very lonely. With their support I don’t have to be a one woman fighter, I don’t have to do it alone.”

Tim Martin said: “We are immensely proud of the partnership that we have with CLIC Sargent. When it started we had no idea how much we would raise. Now we know that our hard-working and committed staff and customers will have made a real difference for so many families struck by cancer.”

“The £13m total is fantastic, but we know that the fight for young lives is ongoing and we want to help CLIC Sargent be there for young cancer patients and their families in the future.”

CLIC Sargent supports families through a variety of services including social workers, nurses, key workers, play specialists and financial grants. For more information visit

According to CLIC Sargent, every day 11 children and young people in the UK will hear the news that they have cancer. Treatment normally starts immediately, is often given many miles from home and can last for up to three years.

Although survival rates are over 80%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children and young people in the UK.

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