Star praises hospice appeal fund-raisers

Joe Longthorne with the Blackpool Gazette
Joe Longthorne with the Blackpool Gazette
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Blackpool singing star Joe Longthorne today congratulated the Fylde coast for its efforts to raise more than £200,000 for charity through a Gazette appeal.

The popular entertainer has said the wealth of support given to Hospice Heroes campaign for Trinity Hospice and Brian House children’s hospice was “remarkable”.

We announced, last week, we had smashed our £200,000 Hospice Heroes appeal, which has helped pay for the biggest revamp in the hospice’s 30-year history.

The money raised through the appeal has been put together with a £280,000 grant from the Department of Health to pay for the work at the hospice on Low Moor Road, Bispham.

He told of his pride in the Fylde coast’s work to support the charity which cares for people with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions while talking frankly about his own battle with cancer.

Joe, 59, was diagnosed with throat cancer last month and is now preparing to undergo a gruelling 10-hour operation on Wednesday to remove a tumour from his neck.

He said: “I’m thrilled it has been raised.

“Blackpool has to stand up and be proud for raising this money, it’s a real thing to celebrate.

“When you’ve been through it, or know the money is for children too, it’s good.”

The singer admitted he has fears about the forthcoming operation, saying he is nervous about the impact the throat operation could have on his voicebox.

But he remains optimistic and confident in his medics, as well as buoyed both by his fans and friends support and his own faith. And he retains his sense of humour.

He said: “I’m a little nervous about how the operation will affect my voice – I could come out sounding like Mickey Mouse! But if I should come out of it OK singing will be the most important thing.

“I go up and down but you’ve got to get on and I have to thank everyone for their wonderful messages of support.”

He is already looking forward to returning to work and perform some of his summer season show dates at Viva Cabaret Showbar.

Close friend Darren Day is set to cover for him in the meantime.

And the generous singer hopes to set up his own charitable cause too, the Joseph Patrick Longthorne Foundation, when he is recovered and recuperated, having supported Trinity and Brian House in the past.

He added: “I’ve supported them and it’s always been a joy.

“They need £5m a year to keep it going, it’s so expensive to run.

“It’s inspirational people have raised this £200,000 for Hospice Heroes.”