S.U.R.E. Somerset Unit for Radiotherapy Equipment

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SURE Founder awarded British Empire Medal

S.U.R.E. founder Barrie Palmer has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the honours announced on 10th October ‘For services to Cancer Treatment’. This is wonderful recognition for Barrie and all SURE supporters and fundraisers over the past 20 years.

Here are Barrie’s own words in response to the award:

“I was a Police Officer in Somerset, stationed at Taunton and Bridgwater for 32 years, mainly as a scenes of crime officer. When I retired in 2002, I gained a place at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2003 to train as a professional actor. From January 2005 for 15 months I performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon and the West End. I also toured for two and a half years as Stan in Victoria Wood’s dinnerladies on stage.  Plus numerous other roles playing opposite people like Simon Callow and Felicity Kendal.

SURE. The Somerset Unit for Radiotherapy equipment.

Back in 1998,I was taking a friend of mine, Howard Wander. a well known local amatuer actor, to Bristol for radiotherapy treatment, as that was the closest centre, a round trip from Taunton of 100 miles, daily!  I decided that we needed a centre in Somerset. I launched SURE in September 2000 with a variety show at Queens College entitled, Absent Friends, for Howard sadly lost his fight against cancer as did two other good friends who were also local actors. On that night we raised £5136. I then ran the Charity on my own for a number of years, travelling Somerset to get the word out about what I was trying to do, build a unit in Taunton. After a great deal of hard work and negotiations with the NHS and others, it was eventually decided by the powers that be that Taunton would indeed be a good place for a cancer centre. A committee of SURE was formed. We have had and still have a very hard working group of people who ensure that funds keep coming in and we can provide amazing equipment for the treatment of patients in Somerset. Our centre, it was decided, would be built under a Private Finance Initiative and the Beacon Centre duly opened in 2009.  SURE has provided some state of the art equipment, at first a CT simulator, which was replaced the year before last, as they don’t last forever and like all computers, they get better all the time and many many other pieces of equipment and software which has enable the Beacon to become a National Centre of Excellence. To date, SURE has raised in excess of £3.5 Million. This has been achieved by the army of supporters and the general public. The man who is the current Chairman is Paul Alway who works tirelessly for the Charity.

So I am immensely grateful for this award but it is for all of the past and present members of the committee and supporters, I just came up with the idea and did what I could to make it happen. They do the rest”.

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