THE community in Thorpe Bay have rallied round an inspirational mum undergoing treatment for cancer to raise more than £11,000 for Southend Hospital.

Sara Speller, 38, discovered she had a lump on her breast in February and started undergoing chemotherapy soon after.

She said: “As soon as I saw it I knew what it was but I’m not the sort of person to sit in a haze of depression, I wanted to turn it into a positive experience.

“When my hair started to fall out, it was quite painful and I thought it might be better if I shaved my hair off – and I thought if I was doing that I may as well raise money through sponsorship.

“I’d had a couple of tricky pregnancies and they do great work at Southend Hospital and the Bosom Pals appeal will buy some brilliant equipment, so I chose them.”

She set her original fundraising target at £500 – and has been stunned by how much it has been exceeded.

Friends at the Thorpe Bay Yacht Club, Thorpe Bay Gardens, where Mrs Speller is a member, then rallied round to help organise a fundraising night with raffles and auctions.

She said: “There were 170 tickets sold, which was unbelievable and 40 or 50 people on a waiting list.

“The chef Mick Kilkenny and his wife Debbie were fantastic organising everything, and Gelato Italia supplied loads of free ice cream to help more money go to the hospital.”

She added: “It’s not really about me, I want to let women know that cancer affects all women, not just older women – trust your instincts and get checked out as soon as possible, as the sooner it is diagnosed the more effective treatment can be.”

More goods will be auctioned for the appeal in the coming weeks on the Thorpe Bay Yacht Club website at and Sara’s Just Giving page can be viewed at

-If you have a Thorpe Bay or Southchurch community story call 01702 321 142 or email