A COUPLE is retiring after dedicating a quarter of a century to fundraising for The Christie.

Bob and Ilse Splaine, both aged 79, have raised £70,000 for the centre after Ilse was given a second chance of life when she was treated at The Christie in the late 1980s.

The dedicated Atherton couple are now looking to hang up their charity gear and retire from fundraising after 25 years.

“I have enjoyed everything I have done for The Christie over the last 25 years, it is my way of saying a big thank you,” Ilse said.

“We worked hard at it and we’ve had some amazing times but we always felt The Christie was a place of excellence which is why we wanted to give something back.

“The main reason we carried on fundraising for so long is that I’m here to tell the tale 25 years on. We’re so grateful for what The Christie did for us all those years.”

In 1988 Ilse was given just two months to live following surgery for advanced cancer of the abdomen and ovaries.

Bob asked for a second opinion and Ilse was referred to The Christie, where she underwent a successful course of chemotherapy.

Over the years the couple, who have one son, two granddaughters and a three month old great-grandson, have organised countless events including raffles, tombolas and their tremendously popular ‘strawberry fairs’ which the couple hosted at their home every year for 16 years.

Bob said: “Since 1988, we’ve had a fantastic 25 years – that we wouldn’t have had without The Christie – so we wanted to give something back to the hospital that gave Ilse all those precious years and many more to come.

“We’ve had a fantastic time and met so many different people, who have been so kind and supportive over the years.”