Hundreds of baked goods, from chocolate cupcakes to blueberry muffins and brownies, helped a school host a Macmillan Coffee Morning for former pupil Natalie Daniells.
Natalie, who left Priory School, Southsea, in 2012, has a rare form of terminal cancer. Despite undergoing chemotherapy, she was at the school for its event yesterday.
Priory, along with many other businesses and organisations across the Portsmouth area, held a coffee morning for Macmillan Cancer Support.
The day encourages people to have cake and a cuppa while raising cash.
Events were also held in Cosham, Fareham, Portchester and around the country.
Students at Priory, off Fawcett Road, cooked and collected more than 200 cakes, raising £1,239.
Natalie, 20, says: ‘It was really nice for my old school to support Macmillan, which has done a lot to help me and my family.’
As previously reported in The News, Natalie was diagnosed with cancer in November, 2014. Her cancer was originally found in her ankle, forcing her to have her leg amputated.
She was given the all-clear in October last year, but in February she was given the devastating news that the cancer had returned and spread to her lungs.
Natalie and her family are receiving support from Macmillan nurses.
She adds: ‘I know the school are trying to make it one of the biggest coffee mornings in the area and I have been really impressed with the number of cakes.
‘Everyone put in a lot of effort, which is great to see.’
Students gave donations for the cakes and senior assistant headteacher Gary Green said it was great to see the pride students had in their school and their community.
‘As well as helping support Natalie, this event was also about students having pride in Priory,’ he says.
‘Supporting people is something we are keen to do and a lot of work went into this.’
Headteacher Stewart Vaughan adds: ‘There has been an enormous community effort. Lots of supermarkets got involved, as did hundreds of students and their parents.
‘It is all about raising money for this incredibly important charity.
‘The effort from students was fantastic. There was an enormous array of cakes and so many students got involved to go the extra mile.’
Elsewhere, at the Manor House, in Cosham, there was unlimited tea and coffee and home-made cake for customers. There was also live music and a magician.
At Cosham Community Centre the selection of cakes sold out within two hours.
Deby Duell, bar manager and social secretary says: ‘It is a nice get-together and atmosphere. I am inspired to participate by people who are suffering or have suffered with cancer.’
Verisona Law also took part in the cause by hosting a cake stand for the second year at 1000 Lakeside, at North Harbour.
Last year the firm raised more than £350 and this year is hoping to raise much more.
Volunteer Selina Williams said: ‘Cancer affects everyone one way or another and this is a good cause.
‘The work Macmillan does to help patients and their families is great.’
In Lee-on-the-Solent, workers at Solent Mobility swapped sales for sponge cake as they converted their store into a pop-in coffee and cake store for any shoppers who wanted to quench their thirst or fill their belly.
Debbie Watts, director at Solent Mobility, said: ‘The team here love to bake and some of our customers have donated cakes for us this year too.
‘We are lucky to have such a great community here in Lee-on-the-Solent.
‘People have been popping in all morning to make their donations and eat these lovely cakes.’
Ferneham Hall in Fareham opened its doors to the public and expects to have smashed what it raised last year.
Organisers believe they have made at least the double the £410 from 2015 and they were optimistic to hit the £1,000 mark.
Additional reporting by Will Rooney, Aniesa Mirreh and Izzy Ash.