Tribute to Cancer Research Wales’ longstanding fundraiser, Ken Lawrence MBE

We are very saddened to announce the passing of one of our Charity’s most longstanding and committed supporters, Mr Ken Lawrence MBE, who recently died at the age of 91 

Former Milkman, Ken, dedicated much of his retirement years to raising as much money as he could in support of helping people affected by cancer in Wales. Such was his dedication towards this cause that he singlehandedly raised almost £300,000 in aid of Cancer Research Wales.  

Ken first became involved with Cancer Research Wales after a close family friend’s granddaughter, Amy, passed away from a brain tumour shortly before her 18th birthday. Unfortunately, Ken’s wife, Margaret was also later diagnosed with Cancer. 

Explaining Ken’s commitment to raising funds, Ken’s son, Stephen Lawrence, stated 

“My father started collecting for Cancer Research Wales with his late wife, Margaret. At the time my father had a personal target of raising £100,000. 

However, my mother’s health began to fail and she could no longer actively collect and so my father took on the role himself to achieve his ambitious target…He raised it! But he didn’t stop and the next the target was £200,000, and he raised it again! He then struck a deal with us that he would stop collecting when he raised £300,000.00. 

My Dad never reached that target as my Mother’s health deteriorated to a point he could no longer leave her. I am immensely proud of my father’s drive and commitment to CRW and know that the money he raised will help countless others.” 

Ken, achieved his extraordinary fundraising goals by personally carrying out weekly bucket collections in supermarkets and fundraising within hospitals across South Wales, giving up at least two days a week to the cause. Ken also hand-crafted individual gift boxes which he sold on behalf of the charity, with each box carrying a message of love and goodwill to the bearer. 

In 2013, Ken’s fundraising efforts were recognised by being awarded an MBE by Princess Anne. In response to this achievement, Ken, in his own words said: 

‘I get my inspiration from speaking to people when I’m collecting. They tell me their stories and confide in me with their cancer experiences and how they’ve come through it.  

One lady I spoke to put money in my bucket and she told me she was a cancer sufferer and had just six weeks to live. When I collect I think back to that lady and I know that’s why I am there. I get a lot of satisfaction and in my small way I feel I’m making a difference.” 

Honouring Ken’s character, enormous contribution to the work of the charity, Cancer Research Wales, Chief Executive, Ann Tate, commented:   

“People like Ken are rare and the amazing sums that he raised is testament to his generous character and commitment to making a difference for people affected by cancer. Ken’s legacy will live on in our pioneering research into all areas of cancer which will have a direct impact on the lives of cancer patients in Wales and beyond.”  

On behalf of all the staff, Trustees and volunteers, Cancer Research Wales would like to send its deepest condolences and sympathies to Ken’s family and friends. Ken will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of meeting and knowing him over many years.