Pals happy to pay cost of friendship

Bill with hospice fundraiser Jim Brown and looking on Bill's wife and nephew
Bill with hospice fundraiser Jim Brown and looking on Bill's wife and nephew
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A Brave grandad facing terminal cancer has raised hundreds of pounds for Strathcarron Hospice by charging visitors who come to see him!

Even Bill Whyte’s wife and family have to pay-up to spend time at the courageous pensioner’s bedside.

Bill was diagnosed with melanoma in 2008 and although he has had over 20 operations and gone through gruelling radiotherapy the courageous ex-paratrooper is now sadly fighting a battle he cannot win.

Despite the news, the 76-year-old from Brightons made it clear when he was admitted to the hospice in July he wanted his stay, however short, to benefit others.

He stunned staff by insisting his fundraising plan be allowed. Now, with their full support, rather than bringing the usual magazines, books, flowers and fruit at visiting time, everyone makes a donation to the hospice’s children’s bereavement fund instead.

His amazing idea has raised over £1800 so far with promises of more to come!

Bill’s loving wife Renee (75) and their children Steven (53), his wife Maggie and their children Christopher (23) and Hollie (21); Karen (51) and her partner, Ricky; Julie (45) and her husband Iain and children Lewis (18) and Eilidh (13) have been overwhelmed by the generosity of Bill’s friends and former colleagues at the BP oil refinery in Grangemouth where he was transport manager until retiring in 1987.

Christopher is raising more money by tackling a trip to the base camp at Mount Everest later this month while the Parkhill Dog Walkers Club, which Bill and the family pet Skye joined years ago, have added £734 to the kitty after member Lindsay Wilson, walked the West Highland Way.

There has also been financial support from the Airborne Forces Association Scotland No.1 Branch in Cumbernauld and the Parachute Regimental Association in Colchester for their colleague, presented with his British Military Parachute Wings at RAF Abingdon in 1956.

This week Karen said: “Dad’s battled this illness for nearly four years and the whole family is very proud of how he has coped. We were told last November his condition was terminal and he knows he’s now living on borrowed time.

“But, despite the shock of it all, he has been determined something positive will come from his time at the hospice.

“At the start he hoped to raise £100 so we’re delighted the figure keeps rising. Even people who have not been able to visit are sending money.”

Hospice fundraiser Jim Brown said: “We’d never had this type of request before but Bill’s a very down to earth and determined type of guy and we were happy to help.”

Anyone wishing to make a donation can contact Strathcarron Hospice on (01324) 826222.