2:10pm Tuesday 17th June 2014
By Gina Bebbington
A MAN who raised more than £1million for a cancer charity in memory of his late wife has been honoured by the Queen.
Mark Roberts, from Antrobus, has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s birthday honours list 2014 for his charitable services to cancer care.
He and his wife Elise set up the charity Elise for Life and pledged to raise £1million for The Christie after she was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2010 aged 37, just two weeks after Mark proposed to her.
She was treated for malignant melanoma at the hospital but died in October 2010, after her wedding to Mark in Rome that May.
Mark and his Elise for Life supporters, including Elise’s colleagues from Barclays in Gadbrook Park, smashed their fundraising target within three years.
“We started the appeal back in 2010 and finished it in August last year – it all came off and we raised more than £1million,” he said.
“This award is on the back of that.
“I read about the British Empire Medal and it says it’s a recognition by the crown.
“When you read that and think about all the pats on the back, it doesn’t get any better than that award from the queen, I’m very proud.
“It doesn’t affect you day-to-day, you still crack on, but it’s a personal acknowledgement.
“Although my first thought when I got a letter from the Cabinet Office was ‘what have I done wrong!’.
“You wish you could have a conversation with Elise, you think ‘what would she think of this?’, but I think she would be incredibly proud.”
The £1million for The Christie is being spent on research and clinical trials.
Mark said: “Clinical trials are £40,000 a time and you don’t know the success of it.
“Elise tried a couple and they didn’t work for her but they have for others.
“It’s giving people a chance because one in two people will get the benefit from it.”
Mark has not given up fundraising since hitting his target for The Christie.
He has now set up the national charity Challenge for Life, raising funds for cancer awareness, prevention and research.
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