Tributes paid to charity founder who helped hundreds with cancer journeys

Heather Neave, president of Dereham Theatre Company (second right),, presents a cheque to Betty Cart

Tributes paid to Dereham Cancer Care founder, Janet Money - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to a “remarkable” charity founder who helped the lives of hundreds of people throughout Norfolk.  

Janet Money, of Scarning, the founder of Dereham Cancer Care, has died at the age of 73 after being diagnosed with the disease again last year.  

One of her four brothers, Philip Mathews, 10 years her junior, said: “I’m immensely proud of the way she threw herself into Dereham Cancer Care. It gave her life a purpose after too many family tragedies.  

“I am not sure if she ever liked being overtly thanked for what she did. A polite acknowledgement would suffice and the thought that she had helped someone else improve their lives.”  

The mid-Norfolk charity was set up 18 years ago by Mrs Money and was officially opened by the late Brian Cross, the charity’s patron, in April 2002 after he offered up a unit at Baldings Yard, off Cowper Road, in Dereham. 

Dereham Cancer Care based in Dereham. (Right to left) Pictured is its founder Janet Money with long-

Dereham Cancer Care based in Dereham. (Right to left) Pictured is its founder Janet Money with long-term volunteer Christine Harrison. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP - Credit: Archant

It was the brainchild of Mrs Money after she lost her 14-year-old nephew to the disease in 1990, aged 14. No stranger to tragedy, four years later, her 19-year-old son Zane also died. 

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Following her own breast cancer diagnosis in October 1998, undergoing treatment became a lightbulb moment and, with a few like-minded people, she set up the charity.  

She was put through further heartache when her daughter, Tracey Baker, died suddenly from an undiagnosed brain tumour at the age of 34, in 2003. 

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Knowing how proud her daughter had been of her achievements was the motivation she needed to keep going. 

From enjoying a cup of tea and biscuits with other people going through the same heartache to joining in with the many activities on offer, Mrs Money created a place where support, friendship, and guidance were on offer to all.  

Dereham Cancer Care. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Dereham Cancer Care. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Her grandsons have paid tribute to their “mother figure”.  

Zak Baker, 28, said: "In so many ways Nanna is the reason I am who I am today.  

“She most definitely became a mother figure to me.  

“She went through so much, losing both of her children, long-lasting battles with cancer and other illnesses, even to her last moments seeing her power through with every ounce of grit and resilience she had, only pushes me to do the same.   

“Instead of letting these moments get the better of her, she actively continued to support and touch immense amounts of people with their own personal battles, to a scale I am only truly understanding from the reaction to her passing.”  

His brother, JJ, 30, added: “Nanna was an inspirational woman: caring, kind and driven. Once described as ‘a force of nature’, which I found very apt, given her strong personality and character - no matter what life threw at her.   

“Seeing the number of reactions in wake of her passing and hearing how she had touched so many, reaffirmed just how incredible she was.  

“She will be sorely missed by all who had the pleasure of being part of her journey, but leaves behind a legacy which will continue to support those in need." 

One of the people supported by the charity is Alfie Oswick, from Cawston, near Reepham, who raised thousands for it when he was just nine years. It was after his mum, Jennifer, was diagnosed with skin cancer. 

Jennifer Oswick, Alfie Oswick and Janet Money at Dereham Cancer Care Christmas coffee morning.

Jennifer Oswick, Alfie Oswick and Janet Money at Dereham Cancer Care Christmas coffee morning. - Credit: Dereham Cancer Care

Mrs Oswick said she was shocked by the news. 

“We are grateful to have known someone so bright and happy,” she added. 

“She always had a welcoming smile and a cup of tea ready for you.  

“She will be truly missed by all." 

Alfie Oswick, nine, of Cawston, hands over a chocolate cake to Janet Money of Dereham Cancer Care, r

Alfie Oswick, nine, of Cawston, hands over a chocolate cake to Janet Money of Dereham Cancer Care, representing the £4330 he has fundraised for them through lots of different events. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Zoe Flint, who will be taking over the running of the charity, described her friend as “persuasive and driven”.  

"I made a promise that I would do everything I can to keep the charity going,” she said.  

“We will keep her memory alive and the drive she had for the charity in the way she would have wanted it to be kept.  

"We hope to see it go from strength to strength.”  

Long-term friend, Christine Harrison, who has also volunteered at the charity for eight years, said: “She was such a strong woman and she was a dear friend to me.  

“Our promise to her was that we would all carry on and keep Dereham Cancer Care going to honour her memory and all the hard work she put in.”  

Another close friend, Penny Allan, said she will be remembered as a “remarkable” woman.  

Dr Allan added: “She dedicated her life to not only looking after her own family but the whole community. She had an amazing ability to make people feel special."  

Friend and volunteer, Lynne MacGregor, said: “She was positive and worked tirelessly to help people who needed care and support, as well as their families.  

“She was a fountain of knowledge, was always cheerful, and strong-minded. She gave a lot to Dereham Cancer Care and she also loved her grandsons to bits.”  

And finally, Betty Carter, another volunteer and trustee, added: “She was very driven. She was a good teacher to new volunteers and a good friend to all. We will all miss her terribly and she will be a big loss to the charity.”  

Before the charity, Mrs Money trained as a hairdresser. 

She leaves behind her husband, John.

Her funeral will take place on January 8 at 1pm at St Nicholas’ Church, Dereham. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, people are being asked to line the town's streets and wear an item of lilac clothing. The funeral procession will make its way past the war memorial along High Street and Church Street. 

In recognition of her work, Dereham Town Council will be flying the union flag with a black cravat on the day. 

Donations to Dereham Cancer Care in lieu of flowers via this website or can be sent to Dereham Funeral Directors. For more information ring Lisa Warman on 01362 692233. 

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