16 June 2024

‘Please help my friend enjoy the time he has left’

by Rebecca Hannant

A Keyingham man is raising money to help a friend – who received a devastating cancer diagnosis just weeks ago – marry his long-term partner.

Alex “Pom” Foster, 58, was worried after he suffered a pain in his side. Four weeks later, he was diagnosed with Type 4 bile duct cancer which had spread to his liver, lungs and lymph nodes. He was given only 12 to 18 months left to live.

After a second CT scan, doctors confirmed that his cancer had progressed significantly, shortening his prognosis.

Alex and his partner of 25 years, Jane Kirby, previously lived in Keyingham, and a few years ago they invested all their savings and inheritance from Jane’s mother into opening their dream pub in the Lake District. However, Covid halted all business, forcing the couple to give it up.

Shortly afterwards, Alex’s mother died, and they invested everything into setting up a café, which remains open. The café is run by Jane who dedicates all her time into running the business and caring for Alex.

Because of Alex’s declining health, the couple have decided they want to marry before it is too late.

However, Jane is still legally married to her estranged husband, a Croatian man who has returned to his home country. They have not had contact with each other for 27 years, and Jane is desperate to get a divorce so she can marry Alex.

As a result of these complexities, a divorce is expected to cost £5,000 as specialist solicitors would be needed to trace Jane’s estranged husband. However, because of dwindling funds, the couple are unable to afford this. Alex’s lifelong friend, Richard Whittaker, has

set up a GoFundMe page to help the pair. He hopes to raise £10,000 which will help fund the divorce, so the couple can get married and enjoy the precious time they have left.

Richard said: “Alex is a wonderful man. He played cricket and darts for local teams like Keyingham and played guitar in local gigs.

“I have set up a GoFundMe page with the intention of raising as much as I can for them.

“There is no time to waste so, please, if you can, dig as deep as you can to give them some time together and take away the stress of the financial pulls of the café. My mum has donated £200, as have I, to start with. I don’t expect you to do the same but try and dig as deep as you can.”

A charity auction has also been organised by old friend Richard Clappison from Ottringham. It will take place at the Watts Arms in the village on Friday, February 9, at 8pm. So far, they have received prize donations of wine, spirits, a ukulele worth £240, a free MOT, physiotherapy appointment, aesthetics session, chimney sweep and more.

Anyone wanting to donate prizes can contact Richard on 07966 172555 or email [email protected].

So far, the fundraiser has raised more than £6,000. To donate, visit gofundme.com/f/help- alex-achieve-his-dreams-in-his-last-year.