‘We want to help in whatever way we can...’

(l-r) Tom Farren of Tesco, Liesl Devereux, Jan Neal, Steve Neal and Chris Oliver of Tesco
(l-r) Tom Farren of Tesco, Liesl Devereux, Jan Neal, Steve Neal and Chris Oliver of Tesco
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After Steve and Jan Neal lost several family members and friends to cancer, they decided to help out a cause which strives to find a cure for the disease.

The couple, who live in Cranleigh Road, Portchester, organised a charity ball with a three-course dinner at Portsmouth Marriott Hotel in a bid to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

And the event, which was attended by 169 of their family, friends and work colleagues, proved to be a huge success because almost £3,000 was raised for the charity.

A total of £2,795 was raised from ticket sales, games, an auction and a raffle with prizes – and an anonymous donor decided to put in an extra £205.

Steve, 44, and Jan began organising the ball in July after they went to a series of funerals earlier in the year.

The couple were able to put on a large event because they both work for Tesco, which has nominated Cancer Research UK as its charity of the year.

Steve, who is the store manager of the Tesco Metro store in High Street, Cosham, says he is overwhelmed by how much was raised.

‘The event was absolutely fantastic,’ he says.

‘Everyone had a fantastic time. All the hard work Jan and I put in paid off.

‘I lost my dad Patrick to cancer 16 years ago. He was 59. Recently Jan and I have lost other members of the family, as well as friends, to the disease.

‘It was during the summer after a number of funerals that we decided to take action and raise money for a fantastic cause.

‘We used our jobs to get the event off the ground as Tesco does a lot to support Cancer Research UK. Our colleagues were right behind us.

‘The best feeling in the world is knowing that we have raised a considerable amount for a charity which is doing all it can to beat cancer.

‘We work hard in our day to day jobs but we organised this in our own time.

‘It’s been extremely rewarding.’

The couple don’t plan to stop here in their fundraising efforts.

They want to set up a charity horse race night for the charity in the function room of HMS Nelson inside Portsmouth Naval Base.

The couple hope to hold the event in April next year.

Then six months later they want to repeat their recent efforts by holding another charity ball at Portsmouth Marriott Hotel. Steve adds: ‘We want to help in whatever way we can.’