The family and friends of Ambergate medical student Neil Dalton are gearing up to host their biggest charity event yet to mark the fifth anniversary of his murder.
Neil’s Day has become an annual celebration of his life with a focus on raising money for stem cell transplant charity the Anthony Nolan Trust which has raked in more than £20,000 so far.
Parents Phil and Jan Dalton said: “Neil’s Day is always a very special day and we can’t thank all of those involved enough for their efforts.
“We know how much it takes to put on the event and we thank each and every person for helping to remember Neil in such a positive way.”
They added: “We’re also very thankful for the contributions which local businesses make every year to the raffle and auction.
“There is an amazing show of community spirit, not just here in Derbyshire where Neil grew up and called home, but all over the country.”
This year’s event will take place on Sunday August 25 at Alderwasley’s Packhorse ground, with a cricket tournament starting at 10am and live music continuing until 9pm.
There will be lots for families to enjoy with breakfast bacon butties, an all-day barbecue, face and glitter painting, cake sales, sweet stall, tombola, and drinks and refreshments served all day.
As a keen all-round sports player, the venue is where Neil played his home games for Belper Amateurs CC.
Oliver Deeming, a close friend and one of the event organisers, said: “Neil was a truly remarkable individual who touched the lives of the many people he worked alongside, treated, played sport and studied with and, of course, his closest friends and family for whom a day doesn’t go by without thinking of him.”
The event is part of a wider fundraising campaign which has so far raised £56,000 for the charity, earning a national award in 2018.
The money has helped pay for a Heraeus centrifuge, which is crucial to the Anthony Nolan team’s research.
It makes the process of matching donors to those who need a lifesaving transplant much more efficient.
The machine has a plaque dedicated to Neil on it and coincidentally is used by a postgraduate medical student from Belper School, who knew Neil.
Charity spokesperson Rowena Bentley said: “The money raised in memory of Neil is making a big difference to people with blood cancer.
“We’re incredibly grateful for the group’s support over the last five years.”
She added: “It costs £40 to recruit each person to the Anthony Nolan register, so fundraising is a vital part of our lifesaving work.
“Neil’s Day has now raised enough to fund 500 people on the stem cell register who have the potential to save a life if found as a match.”
The charity was close to Neil’s heart. He was registered as a potential donor and took on a fundraising coast to coast cycling challenge.
For more information about the event, or to make a donation, go to justgiving.com/fundraising/oliver-deeming.
Any local businesses which would like to contribute a raffle prize can contact Oliver on 07976 436310 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.