A great-grandmother who recently celebrated her 100th birthday raised £1,400 for a brain tumour charity in memory of her late son.
Fluff Strong, of Long Crendon, celebrated her landmark birthday on Sunday, February 1 with family and friends at The Angel restaurant in the village.
But instead of gifts, she asked guests to make a donation to the Brain Tumour Research in memory of her late son John, who died from an agressive brain tumour just 12 days before his 65th birthday, eight years ago.
Her wishes meant the charity received more than £1,400 in donations, so staff invited her to the head office in Padbury to share coffee and cake as a way of saying thank you.
Mrs Strong – who is known to everyone as ‘Fluff’ since being given the nickname as a baby – said: “John was a wonderful son and a brilliant physicist – a professor at London University and well-known to the nuclear physicists at Cern, outside Geneva.
“It seemed so cruel that someone with such an amazing mind should end up with brain cancer.
“When he was diagnosed I hoped that it would be operable so to learn that it wasn’t was just devastating. I kept hoping for a miracle right up to the end.”
Mrs Strong said she had ‘such a wonderful birthday’ with ‘lots of family and friends together to share my special day’.
These included her two grandsons, James from Winslow and Robert who flew in from Seattle, as well as her two great grand-daughters, Niamh, 14 and Orla, 10 and her daughter-in-law, Carol who lives near Mrs Strong.
She went on: “I couldn’t believe how generously everyone donated to this worthy cause in memory of John.
“I hope the funds raised will bring researchers a step closer to finding a cure for this awful disease.
“I was stunned to discover that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research is allocated to this devastating disease. This is unacceptable!”
Mrs Strong’s daughter-in-law and John’s widow, Carol added: “Mum is an amazing lady and totally ‘on the ball’.
“Her grandsons bought her an iPad a few years ago and she keeps in touch with friends and family all over the world by email, Skype and FaceTime.
“She is an absolute inspiration, as was her son – my wonderful husband of 41 years.
“It was so lovely to be given a special invitation to come into the offices of Brain Tumour Research when we got in touch to hand over the birthday donations.
“John is never far from our thoughts and we continue to keep his memory alive by talking about him so that even his grand-children who barely knew him, understand what a great man he was.”
Brain Tumour Research chief executive Sue Farrington Smith said: “It’s not every day we get to welcome a wonderful 100 year old lady through our doors – unfortunately far too often we meet parents who, like Mrs Strong, have outlived their children.
“16,000 families face the news each year that a loved one has been diagnosed with a brain tumour, and the numbers of people dying from this type of cancer are rising.
“We are striving to fund a network of seven dedicated research centres whilst challenging the government and larger cancer charities to invest more in brain tumour research. Help us fund the fight. Together we will find a cure.”