A pub has been named Britain’s most charitable local after customers helped it raise more than £100,000. for a cancer care unit.
Joe Gildea, who runs the Ship Victory in George Street, Chester, lost his daughter Angela to breast cancer in January, 2002 and since her death, 73-year-old Joe and his partner Helen Moroney, 51, have been tirelessly raising money for the Countess of Chester Hospital’s breast care unit.
Over the years the pub has hosted quizzes, raffles and karaoke nights, as well as turkey trots at Chester Racecourse and rounders matches.
The pub passed the £100,000 mark earlier this year and has been crowned best charitable pub in the Great British Pub Awards 2012.
Joe and Helen, who are due to marry next month, were presented with the award during a gala dinner at London’s Park Lane Hilton.
“We were absolutely made up and it was a brilliant night,” said Helen.
“When they called our name out we thought we were getting the regional award. We didn’t realise it was the national award.
“There were over 600 people there and it was a real black tie affair. We had a wonderful night.”
Angela, who was an officer in the 610 City of Chester Air Cadets, was diagnosed with breast cancer after she noticed a lump in her breast following a trip to Canada.
She died less than five months later, aged 32 – just three weeks after her birthday.
Joe launched the Angela Gildea Memorial Fund shortly after Angela’s death and Helen said the total now raised was £101,638.22.
“Joe was so emotional when we won the award,” said Helen.
“We both want to thank everyone who has supported us. The money keeps coming in and we have got more fundraising events planned for this year.”
The Countess of Chester Hospital has used the money to buy a wide range of items and equipment to enhance and improve the patient experience in its breast care unit.