Bowled over by the help they received, a family is organising a charity cricket match to thank St Wilfrid’s Hospice.
Money will be raised for the hospice in memory of Charlie Vane, a much-loved father and husband who was known by many in the area for his catering prowess.
Organiser Rosie Simson said her step-father was a special person who enjoyed nothing more than a big family get-together over a meal he had prepared.
She said: “He would sit back at the end of the table and watch us cry with laughter when we were together, knowing he was so proud of the family he had. Nothing compared to those moments.
“We will all miss him so much. However, we are fortunate enough so have shared so many memories with him. We must not look back with sadness but instead be happy and grateful we had them in the first place, times some people would never have the chance to experience in their entire lives.”
The cricket match will be held on Sunday at Ashling Cricket Ground, West Ashling, starting at midday. There will be an afternoon barbecue and raffle.
Rosie said: “I am hoping to get many people from the local area to get involved, especially those who knew Charlie. It’s raising money for a very special cause, St Wilfrid’s Hospice, who helped our family so much this time last year.”
Charlie grew up on the west coast of Scotland, where his parents lived on an island for most of his childhood.
He moved down south after university, where he studied accounting. He quickly knew a desk job was not for him and having always loved the fresh air and green fields, started his own garden landscaping company, Bayleaf Garden Services.
Rosie said: “He lived in West Ashling and later in Funtington, and was known and loved by so many. He had three children, Harry, Lucy and Johnny, who now all live in London.
“He later married my mother, Mandy, and inherited three more step-daughters. He was an amazing step-father to me and my sisters and we became an incredibly close family right from the word go. I look back now and can’t believe how lucky we were to have such an amazing family.
“Charlie was an excellent cook. I’m sure that’s the first thing that comes to mind when people think of him. There was nothing more exciting that returning from university after three months to the smell of slow-roasted lamb coming from the kitchen as I walked through the door.
“Charlie would be there by the oven and, once he had given me a huge hug and a kiss, was back by the oven stirring the gravy, insisting he didn’t need any help and it was all under control – which it always was.
“Or, it would be a Sunday summer’s afternoon and we would be having a barbecue with his favourite marinated chicken thighs, sausages, burgers, salads and coleslaw. You name it, it was there. I still have friends messaging me for his recipes now, they were that memorable. But what he loved most was that it was these times that brought us all together.”
Charlie died on August 20, 2016, from cancer. He was diagnosed two years earlier and the last few months were the toughest, with Mandy supporting him every step of the way.
Rosie said: “The miles she travelled to The Royal Marsden and back for Charlie’s treatment must have been in the thousands but the love she had for him was unlimited. Her love and strength shined through and kept the family strong when Charlie no longer could.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cricketforcharlie to make a donation.