A cancer survivor and her gin distilling husband have raised tens of thousands of pounds at the launch of their new tipple in aid of the fight against cervical cancer.
Liz Long and husband Mark, who is the Master Distiller at Brindle Distillery, raised an eye-watering £24,000 at the launch night of the distillery’s new drinking venture – Cuckoo Gin Solace.
The gin was launched this summer after Liz’s successful battle against cervical cancer; something she was diagnosed with at the age of just 29 after a routine cervical screening test – also known as a smear test.
To mark the launch of the gin, which donates to Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust through every bottle sold, a charity fund-raiser was held in late September where the tens of thousands of pounds were raised through tickets, a live auction, raffle tickets, and proceeds from the first batch of Solace.
"We knew we had a great community following at the distillery due to the tours, workshops and events we host, so, we had confidence it could be something special – £15,000 was a stretch target," said Mark.
"But it’s actually going to be around £26,000 when all added up.
"We both woke up with sore heads the day after the fundraiser – but our heads filled with huge pride and an immense feeling of being overwhelmed by the generosity and support from the locals."
Liz blogged about her journey in which she spoke about her gratitude to those who helped her through a challenging time.
At the fund-raiser at the distillery’s Holme Farm base of operations in Brindle, the former cow shed was full of energy and rocked until the early morning hours thanks to band Under The Covers – with Liz herself also belting out some numbers.
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the charity which Cuckoo Gin Solace will permanently donate to, is the UK’s leading cervical cancer charity.
It was the concept of London businessman, James Maxwell, in memory of his wife, Jo, who died from cervical cancer at the age of 40 in 1999.
"This money will help support women and families in a similar situation and also drive marketing and advertising campaigns that raise awareness nationwide,” said Mark.
"The distillery was packed and the energy and love in the room was incredible. We could have sold out three times.
"I think all businesses that get support through community should find a way to give back.
"We have done this previously as best we could but have now used a traumatic personal experience and turned it into a positive as best we could."
Robert Music, CEO of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “We’re so grateful to Mark, Liz and everyone at Brindle Distillery for raising an incredible £24,000 for Jo’s.
"As well as the staggering amount raised through their fundraising event, we’re so delighted that they have chosen to continue their support amazing support.
"This will make such a huge difference to our work and will go towards funding our vital support services as well as helping get closer to achieving our ultimate goal of eradicating cervical cancer."
Cuckoo Gin Solace is available from Brindle Distillery, Booth’s supermarket and local bottle shops.
Liz, Mark and the rest of the family would like to thank every single person for donations big or small and look forward to continue growing the Cuckoo community.
• For information on the symptoms of cervical cancer visit www.jostrust.org.uk