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Punk band accelerates fundraising for Worldwide Cancer Research through music and memories

At Worldwide Cancer Research we are always delighted to hear about the unique ways our supporters are raising money for us and the inspiration behind their dedication to fundraising.

Kathy Freeman, now based in Berlin, was guitarist in The Accelerators – a punk band she co-founded in 1977 in Liverpool. Kathy has recently been fundraising for Worldwide Cancer Research and contacted the charity to tell us more about the reasons behind her support.

“In the 70s the band quickly went from strength to strength and we were soon gigging up and down the country, but we kept coming up against the same issue – not many venues had their own sound systems.

“So taking matters into our own hands, we decided to build up our own sound system which is when Chris Bray entered our lives as the band’s roadie.”

The Accelerators were frequently on the road until the early 80s and Kathy has many memories of being squeezed into the band van with the rest of the group and fleeing along B-roads up and down the UK to perform at shows ranging from local pub nights to supporting the Buzzcocks.

“Chris was there the whole time, but not just as the muscle. He was a talented musician too - he played a mean saxophone at some of our shows. And totally on his own initiative, he set up and managed the Accelerators’ own record label.”

Chris lived and breathed The Accelerators. Kathy remembers how he was always ready to help out and how he always embraced life full on. His positive attitude was an inspiration.

In 2013 Kathy received the devastating news that Chris had lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. With the fond memories so fresh in Kathy’s mind of the time the band and Chris spent together, she found herself digging out old recordings and decided to honour his memory by setting up a website platform to sell the music the band created together, with all proceeds going to Worldwide Cancer Research.

Kathy told us how supporting a charity which funds cancer research projects on a global scale was important to her.

“It’s my chance to give something back - to help researchers around the world discover more about this horrendous disease and develop better treatments, now and in the future.”

In March of this year, Kathy tragically received more bad news when her brother Tom Freeman very unexpectedly passed away from an aggressive form of leukaemia. His passing has inspired Kathy to continue supporting the charity.

“Tom was one of the healthiest people I knew. Cancer is cruel and irrational, and we don’t always know why it takes some and not others. But we can try to stop more people suffering by supporting Worldwide Cancer Research.”

Kathy has written the song Farewell, My Brother in his memory and dedicates it to all lost brothers. We would like to give a huge thank you to Kathy and all the members of The Accelerators for their continued support.

Since 1979, Worldwide Cancer Research has invested almost £199m directly into cancer research and funded 1,808 projects for 1,120 researchers in 34 countries. This is all thanks to our generous supporters, like Kathy. Without this dedication and support, the pioneering projects we fund and discover would simply not happen. We need further support to allow us to continue fighting cancer using groundbreaking science.

If you would like to support Kathy’s fundraising, please visit

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