The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity has hit a fundraising record after running its Christmas campaign virtually for the first time.
The annual Celebrate a Life campaign has bought in over £112,000 in 2020, compare to £103,000 the previous Christmas.
Despite not being able to hold its physical event, this marks an 8% increase in fundraising.
Now in its 17th year, the campaign encourages supporters to donate to name a star which is then placed on one of the 20ft Christmas trees outside the hospital in Chelsea or Sutton during December.
For the first time this year, as well as the physical trees, there was also a virtual tree displaying the named stars on the charity’s website.
Usually, hundreds of people gather at two Celebrate a Life carol services outside the Chelsea and Sutton hospitals. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, this was not possible in 2020 and so it became virtual.
More than 350 people tuned in to the live video posted on Facebook to watch performances from local choirs and bands, prayers and a reading from guest speaker, Jonathan Pryce.
Antonia Dalmahoy, managing director of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has generously supported Celebrate a Life this year and helped us raise more than ever to continue improving the lives of people affected by cancer, even in the most challenging of times.
“We know how important Celebrate a Life is to our patients, their loved ones and our staff. We were all disappointed not to be able to gather together at the hospital. However, the virtual service was a huge success and we’re incredibly grateful to everyone who named a star and joined us virtually to celebrate the lives of those affected by cancer.”