London recruitment consultant Bridie Cunningham, of Portman Scott in Mayfair, lost her beloved father, Willie Cunningham, to lung cancer last year. Her dad, from Ilford in Essex but originally from Roscommon, had been in England for over 50 years since he was 16 years old. He was a retired shutterer. His wife, Margaret, Bridie’s mum, is a retired Midwifery manager, originally from Donegal.
So Bridie, and her husband Peter Irwin, whose late mother came from Cavan and his father from Belfast, organised a charity pub quiz last week at The Magpie and Stump by the Old Bailey for more than 150 people and raised £3,200 for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
Bridie said she had been motivated to raise public awareness because she had become increasingly aware of so many people in the Irish community, particularly people of a certain age – many who worked on sites and on the Underground – contracting lung cancer.
“So many of our community seem to be hit by this terrible disease and it was apparent that the awareness of the charity and the good work they were doing was not that well known In the south – hopefully this event will not only raise some great funds but also increase awareness and support,” she said. “Unfortunately, lung cancer remains the UK’s biggest cancer killer in both women and men. It takes more lives every year than bowel, breast and pancreatic cancer combined, yet receives the least amount of funding compared with any other type of cancer.
“Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation (named after the late entertainer and Record Breaker) is the UK’s only charity wholly dedicated to beating this disease . They need our help more than ever to continue funding pioneering research and providing much-needed support to patients and families whose lives have been affected.
“Anyone can be diagnosed with lung cancer. Young, old, rich, poor, smoker or never smoker. Put simply, if you have lungs, you can get lung cancer. We should all fight to ensure people diagnosed with lung cancer are given an equal chance.