Sunday, February 9, 2014
A busking great-grandad from Sidmouth has landed an award in recognition of his exceptional fundraising for a cancer charity – despite being diagnosed with the illness himself.
Street singer Mervyn Gratton, 68, has collected more than £18,300 for Macmillian Cancer Support since he started raising money for the group three years ago.
And even though he spent the first six months of 2013 recovering from prostate cancer, he managed to bounce back and add £4,300 to his total by the end of the year.
In honour of his efforts, Sidmouth’s branch of Macmillian fundraisers recently awarded Mervyn the ‘Adlam Cup’ – a prize reserved for exceptional service to the charity.
“I was quite taken aback by it really, I certainly wasn’t expecting it,” said the Mill Street resident. “But it’s very nice to be shown appreciation for what I’m doing.”
“Music has been my life, so I’m doing something that I love whilst helping other people affected by cancer.”
His repertoire of 100 songs includes 60s hits from Neil Diamond and Elvis Presley as well as modern tunes from Snow Patrol and Olly Murs.
He performs in five towns across East Devon, and can be heard in Sidmouth’s Market Square at least once a month.
And impressively, the retired delivery driver performs his three-hour, 50-song set without a break.
“Thank you to everyone who has donated and to my loyal supporters,” he added. “I could not have acheived this without the wonderful support from everyone.”
Diane Herbert, chairman of fundraising for Macmillian in Sidmouth, described Mervyn’s efforts as ‘incredible’.
“He’s absolutely phenomenal; we’re so impressed with him,” she said. “Not only is this incredible for Macmillan but also gives a lot of enjoyment to everyone who hears him.”
Diane said that the Sidmouth Macmillian fundraisers had voted unanimously to award Mervyn the cup.
“He brightens up my day and also lots of other people,” she added. “We’re so lucky to have him.”