Organising a ball in these difficult economic times may have seemed foollish but this was a very special ball. It marked the 10th anniversary of The Helen Feather Memorial Trust and more importantly the 10th anniversary of my daughter Helen’s death from cancer.

Time has not dulled her memory nor her family’s pain but what it has done is to increase my resolve to raise even more money in her name to fund the research that might find a cure, or a drug that will allow people to live normal lives with cancer as with other chronic diseases.

Sadly you will all know someone with cancer and some of you have, or have had cancer yourselves and know the fear and pain that the disease brings. Hope is what we need and there is plenty of hope out there with scientists researching relentlessly.

Professor Dalgleish, whose trials we are supporting, exudes enthusiasm and dedication to find a cure. We believe the trials for which he and his team require funding, are exciting and important ones to treat ovarian and prostate cancers. Funding of £130,000 is needed to kick start each trial. Very promising results have already been shown in the laboratory, with the structure in place ready to begin, once the funds are available. Further details of these trials can be viewed by following the links shown below:
Click to View Cancer Vaccine Trials Information
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When we first supported the Cancer Vaccine Institute, vaccines were hardly known or recognized. Now they are considered by all the experts as playing a major part in treating cancers with very little side effects. Money as always goes straight to the laboratory and the research with none being taken in administration or overheads.

This commemorative ball was a spectacular evening of entertainment and fun; Following a champagne reception, the evening was compered by Susanna Reid, BBC Breakfast News Presenter who gave her time free for the charity. A quick game similar to Heads and Tales was played after the started called 'Kick Cancer' where guests watched a film of penalty shoot outs and had to guess whether it was a hit or miss. Following the main course entertainment was provided by the Classic duo Jonathan and Charlotte whose voices are amazing and again gave their time for free. After a delicious three course dinner Charlie Ross the TV Auctioneer conducted the auction of prizes and a video was shown on professor Dalgleish's work.

The Ball raised £65,0000 which was very much down on the £275,000 raised at the last Ball but we are in difficult economic times and it was voted by many of the guests as the most enjoyable of them all.

Very many thanks to to everyone who supported us.

Angela Feather's signature



Thank you so much Susanna. Ladies and Gentlemen , I am sure Susanna must get tired and be glad to get home after commuting up & down to Salford each week to present the BBCBreakfast show, yet she so generously offered to come to compere this evening. Thank you again

Now my special thank you, has to be to all of you who are here tonight . In this economic gloom, you still came to support us and for that I can’t thank you enough and I know that goes for all the committee. It’s so lovely too that Roger Higson, Helen’s GP in Yorkshire when she was first ill has travelled down with his wife Roz to be here tonight and Maurice Slevin, her wonderful Oncologist and Sheilagh, the sister who looked after Helen are all here which makes it special for me.

A big thank you also goes to all the people who have advertised, given donations sponsorship, and wonderful prizes. Too many to mention individually although you are all in the brochure.

I’d also like to thank Bruce Buck, Chairman of Chelsea football Club who allowed us to do a bucket collection last Saturday at the ground which raised £1660. An experience which has left us much more sympathetic to other bucket collectors.

And now to Jonathan and Charlotte who you have just heard perform. I thought they were amazing and at 17, to have waived their fee for the charity, how good is that when they are just at the start of their journey. We wish them all the best of luck. Many thanks too to Simon Cowell who made this possible.

Finally special thanks must go to my wonderful committee. Every single one of them took an active part in this Ball, a real team effort. and I don’t think I’ve ever known meetings so well attended or such fun..! Thank you to you all. You know how much I appreciate you.

Now to why we are here… Well, it is no secret that I would not have attempted a fund raising ball in today’s climate if it hadn’t been the 10th anniversary of the Trust and by definition the 10th anniversary of Helen, my daughter’s death. In those 10 years there has been an ever presence of an absence which even now, at times threatens to overpower me. I have to wonder if these balls are self indulgent, keeping her name alive reaching for a positive from her loss. Maybe there is a bit of that but she would have been here organising these balls had she been alive and the memory of her uncomplaining willingness to accept the most horrendous disabilities and suffering for not just months but years with fortitude not wanting anyone to know or make a fuss inspires me to continue in my small way to help research to stop this dreadful disease and I am incredibly blessed to have so many people who have been willing to help me with this and supported the Trust.

Why are we again supporting Prof Dalgleish and the cancer vaccine programme. Well, we have many times supported projects elsewhere but it’s because I believe in Gus, as he is known, and his dedication, tenacity and enthusiasm. I admire the way he treats patients as a whole and each one is different and may need a different concoction a bit of this and a bit of that. So many people who have been given days, weeks, months to live by leading oncologists elsewhere have gone to Gus and are still alive as you will see in the short video to follow. Incidentally, for those of you who remember our last video 5 years ago or have seen it on the website it featured a man who had had 8 tumours in his liver and two in his lungs and been given 6 months to live by the Marsden. He went to Gus and 5 years later at the time of our last ball he was still free of cancer. He is not on this video but I am pleased to tell you he is still alive another 5 years on. Gus is a man who gives hope when there seems to be none. Who always gave me a plan A and a plan B if Helen‘s scans were to show a worsening of her problems. Sadly the irreparable damage the cancer had done to Helen’s organs meant she came to Gus too late. That though was ten years ago and things have moved on. When Gus talked of the vaccine then, people had hardly heard of it and didn’t take it seriously. Now it is a becoming a major player in the management of cancers. Now more than ever there is hope.

These two trials we are funding are the result of Gus trying the vaccine with two inexpensive non toxic drugs on patients and finding it works. Now he has to do proper published studies complying with EU regulations in order to get funding for large scale trials which will mean many more people can be treated

I am so aware of how many people here tonight have either had cancer, or know someone, close to them with it and I know Lucy who is in our video is here tonight But exciting things are happening in the way we treat cancer now. So this 10th anniversary is a positive not a negative as far as cancer is concerned.

I know everyone is different in the way they deal with their cancers and they are all incredibly brave people with their own stories to tell. What I’m going to say now is said because it is almost certainly the last time I will address you and it’s something I feel strongly about. Some people bravely accept when told there is nothing more that can be done for them and it’s right for them, but others like Helen who was young, always said I don’t mind what I have to go through, it’s living that counts, don’t let me die Mum. If that was to be you or anyone you know and the main treatments of surgery, radiotherapy and chemo haven’t worked and you are told there is nothing more that can be done, in my humble view, and it is only mine, yes there is. I would say…be proactive and look outside the box and see what there is out there. It may have been easier for me being medical and I realize people don’t want to upset the Doctor they are under but if I was a nuisance and I’m sure I was, I was never made to feel so. They accepted I needed to know no stone was left unturned .

It was brought home to me last week how much people do not realize what is out there when the son of a great long term friend of mine rang to tell me his Dad was very ill, with melanoma and they had been told there was nothing more anyone could do. I begged them to let me speak to Prof Dalgelish and poured out examples of people who had gone to him and had their lives extended, but to no avail. Not realizing the vaccine is non toxic, they felt they didn’t want to put him through it but more than that I think they thought it must be some hokus pokus cure that so many people inundate you with when you have cancer. They felt if it was so good why had they not heard about it.

It made me realized how unaware people are of immunotherapy and the advances in new treatments for cancer. Just because it isn’t out there for everyone doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. New treatments take years of trials and funding to get a license to reach the market place and be available to everyone. Professor Dalgleish is the living proof of giving, not only hope, but life to people that were given none. That is why I urge you to please help him with this important research now. These studies are all set up and ready to start when funds are available. How awful that they have to wait for funds with such promising new treatments.

I’ve spoken far too long but it just remains to thank you once again from the bottom of my heart and wish you a really great evening. I feel the time will soon be here when if not a cure, you will be able to pop a pill or have an injection and live with cancer as with other chronic diseases and many people out there think this man Professor Dalgleish and immunology and the vaccine is the one that could make this happen. Thank you so much to everyone. Have a good evening.