Knutsford family's sporting way of volunteering for The Christie | Knutsford Times

Knutsford family’s sporting way of volunteering for The Christie

By on May 31, 2014

A family from Plumley have been speaking about the joy and satisfaction they get from volunteering for the specialist cancer centre The Christie based in south Manchester.

Plyn and Nigel Aston at the Great Manchester Run
Plyn and Nigel Aston and their daughter Rebecca have been supporting The Christie for the past two years as a way of thanking the doctors and nurses that helped Plyn, 67, beat cancer.

The retired post office clerk said; “I was diagnosed with bowel cancer over 20 years ago and received the most fantastic care. I’ve since had the all clear and I’ll never forget the way our whole family was supported during that time. We’re incredibly lucky to have such an excellent hospital so close by.”

Together with Nigel, 68, a retired bank manager and Rebecca, 40, the three volunteer at each of the Christie charity’s major sporting events such as the Great Manchester Run and the Walk of Hope. They lend their time by cheering along participants at check points or providing welcome cups of tea and coffee for thirsty supporters.

Plyn added; “I don’t think we’ve missed a single event over the past two years and we absolutely love it. This is our way of giving something back for the superb treatment I received. The atmosphere at the events is just electric and it’s amazing to be part of it.”

Volunteers like the Aston family will be given special thanks by The Christie next week as the organisation marks the 30th anniversary of National Volunteers’ Week. The annual event celebrates the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK.

Over 350 volunteers currently help at The Christie doing a range of jobs including giving out library books on the wards, escorting patients and visitors to different departments and serving refreshments. Many, like the Aston family, also help out at Christie charity events.

Plyn, who also organises fundraising coffee mornings for The Christie, says she would encourage others to also get involved; “I’d definitely recommend it to anyone and not just to fellow retirees either. It’s something people of all ages can and should do.

“We’ve done so many sponsored events ourselves over the years and you find you tend to ask the same people time and time again for donations and that can be quite difficult. By volunteering, although we’re not raising money, it enables us to do our bit and I know our time is massively valued by the staff at The Christie.”

Plyn and Nigel have been married for 35 years and as well as their daughter Rebecca, they have a son, John and two teenage grandchildren.


Nigel said; “We’ve always been quite sporty ourselves, so it suits us to help out at these events as they suit us and our personalities. There are, of course, a full range of volunteering opportunities doing different things and people should play to their strengths.

“The camaraderie between all the volunteers is just fabulous. You get to meet all sorts of people from all walks of life and hear some amazing stories. We’re one big happy volunteering family and anyone is welcome.”

Rebecca added; “Volunteering for The Christie is our way for giving something back for the care my mum received all those years ago. The events we help out at are so enjoyable and it’s something I’m proud to be part of.”

Interim Chief Executive at The Christie, Roger Spencer, said; “Our volunteers are such an important part of The Christie. Without their continued dedication and support we simply wouldn’t be able to maintain the excellent reputation we’re renowned for.

“National Volunteers’ Week is an opportunity for us to recognise the enormous contribution of our volunteers. They continually go above and beyond, giving up their spare time, to provide such an invaluable service and enhance the patients’ experience. We can’t thank each and every one of them enough.”

As well as volunteering for The Christie, Plyn and Nigel also enjoy long walks, playing golf and are active members of their local church.

Plyn added; “Life’s for living and it’s so important to fill it with as many rich and varied activities as possible. Our next event is the Manchester to Blackpool bike ride in July – we look forward to seeing everyone there!”

If you would like to get involved with volunteering for The Christie charity, you can email the team via or call 0161 446 3400.


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