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John McCarthy CBE helps launch epic Deben Macmillan fundraising event in Woodbridge

PUBLISHED: 09:30 20 June 2019 | UPDATED: 09:38 28 June 2019

John McCarthy officially opens the Deben Macmillan Challenge launch evening at The Long Shed in Woodbridge Picture: GEMMA JARVIS

John McCarthy officially opens the Deben Macmillan Challenge launch evening at The Long Shed in Woodbridge Picture: GEMMA JARVIS

Picture: GEMMA JARVIS

Macmillan have kick started the launch of their two-week summer fundraiser on the River Deben.

The local community turned out to support the Deben Macmillan Challenge launch evening by the riverside in Woodbridge Picture: GEMMA JARVISThe local community turned out to support the Deben Macmillan Challenge launch evening by the riverside in Woodbridge Picture: GEMMA JARVIS

The Macmillan East Suffolk Fundraising Group has declared its epic charity event officially open with author and journalist John McCarthy CBE lending his backing to the two-week challenge extravaganza set against the stunning backdrop of the River Deben.

Beginning on August 24 and running until to September 8, it covers 28 miles of routes all the way along the river from Melton through to Woodbridge and on to Martlesham, Waldringfield, Ramsholt and Bawdsey before coming to completion at Felixstowe Ferry.

Anyone can take part in a range of sponsored activities to help raise money for the Macmillan charity including walking, swimming, sailing, rowing, kayaking, horse riding and many more.

The challenge can be completed over as little or as many days as you'd prefer within the two-week period and the activities can be mixed if you so wish.

The Eine Kleine Sax Music Band accompanied the opening of the launch event Picture: GEMMA JARVISThe Eine Kleine Sax Music Band accompanied the opening of the launch event Picture: GEMMA JARVIS

Mr McCarthy gave an inspiring talk to organizers of the event as well as members of the public in a touching display of honesty and enthusiasm which created a sense of hope and anticipation for the upcoming event.

He spoke of his respect and support for the charity due to his own experiences of losing his parents and his brother to the disease, as well as his love for Woodbridge and the River Deben, as he explained in his opening speech.

He said: "It's an honour to open the Deben Macmillan Challenge. Two things that mean a great deal to me, the Macmillan charity and the River Deben.

"As somebody who enjoyed living in Woodbridge for a good few years, to come here on such a beautiful summer's evening, I'm looking at the river and wishing I didn't have to go back as it's always a magical thing to see.

John McCarthy and guests help support the launch of the Deben Macmillan Challenge in Woodbridge Picture: GEMMA JARVISJohn McCarthy and guests help support the launch of the Deben Macmillan Challenge in Woodbridge Picture: GEMMA JARVIS

"So I think it's brilliant to have come up with this idea to encourage people to explore this river but to do it for such a wonderful cause, too."

A challenge of this scale has required a lot of hard work and dedication and many people turned out to support the opening of the launch night held at The Long Shed run by The Riverside Trust.

As Anne Henderson, a volunteer for Macmillan, explained: "A lot of people are giving up their own time, we don't do this for money, we do it because we believe in it."

Asked how she felt the launch evening went, she continued: "It was a great turnout and a lovely atmosphere beautifully aided by the Eine Kleine Sax Music band.

It was a really good mixture of people who had lots of inspiring ideas, I was thrilled."

Sponsors of the event, including Ufford Park Hotel and The Anchor Pub in Woodbridge amongst others, have lent valued support to the cause and hope that as many people as possible will back this momentous occasion and not only assist with raising funds but to also come together as a community.

As Ms Henderson said: "We wanted to get people fired up so that they go out into their local area and inspire their own community ready to get going when the event begins in August."

Mr McCarthy spoke of his admiration and gratitude for the charity that helped nurse his family members through their cancer battles, saying: "The Macmillan charity is something that is very important to me. It was amazing to have the support of the nurses, particularly when my brother died and the comfort they brought on an emotional level was extraordinary.

"They brought a sense of caring calm and gentleness. So something that ties this wonderful charity to this wonderful place, I think, is fabulous."

Organisers and supporters would love to see as many of you as possible, whether it's getting involved in the challenges, donating to the fund or just being onlookers and lending your support for this valued charity. If you would like to take part in any of the sponsored activities taking place or for more information, please follow:

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