Family of Ashington woman Susie Lockyer to walk 10k in her honour

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A close-knit family which has been struck by cancer multiple times is taking part in a night-time fundraising walk.

The aptly named ‘Team Susie’, from Ashington, has already raised more than £150,000 for Cancer Research UK, in honour of their relative Susie Lockyer.

Susie’s nieces, Lisa Breeze – who has had breast cancer twice – Lyndsey Taylor and Andrea Haig, their aunt Gillian Tipple and Susie’s sister, Brenda Breeze, have signed up to Cancer Research 10k Shine Night Walk from Gateshead to Newcastle, which takes place on Saturday, October 8.

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The family is hoping around 25 friends and relatives will turn up on the night to walk with them.

Team Susie members Lisa Breeze, Andrea Haig, Lyndsey Taylor, Gillian Tipple and Brenda Breeze.Team Susie members Lisa Breeze, Andrea Haig, Lyndsey Taylor, Gillian Tipple and Brenda Breeze.
Team Susie members Lisa Breeze, Andrea Haig, Lyndsey Taylor, Gillian Tipple and Brenda Breeze.

The event starts at Baltic Square at 7pm. Passing some of the area’s most famous landmarks, the route goes over Gateshead’s Millennium Bridge, past Newcastle Castle and St James’s Park, and finishes at St Mary’s Heritage Centre.

Lisa, 48, who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 and underwent a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, knows first-hand just how important new breakthroughs and discoveries are to help more people like her survive.

But the team’s incredible fundraising was instigated and inspired by Lisa’s auntie, Susie Lockyer, who was a bakery manager at Ashington Asda and was well known in the town.

“Susie was lovely,” said Lisa.

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Susie Lockyer and her husband Brian.Susie Lockyer and her husband Brian.
Susie Lockyer and her husband Brian.

“She used to get her words mixed up and say silly things and ask silly questions. She was good fun to be around.”

Susie faced two devastating bereavements in quick succession when her son, Gary, died of lung cancer in July 2013, followed by her husband, Brian, who had kidney cancer and died in December the same year.

But rather than give up, she threw herself into fundraising for Cancer Research UK, with the help of friends and family.

When Susie herself was diagnosed with liver and stomach cancer in 2014, Lisa said it was a blow to them all.

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Susie Lockyer was just 66 when she died.Susie Lockyer was just 66 when she died.
Susie Lockyer was just 66 when she died.

“It was ridiculous,” she said. “We did a lot of swearing, put it that way.”

But again, Susie found the strength to react positively.

“She was upset,” said Lisa. “She had her head in her hands for half-an-hour and then she said ‘I’m going to get on with it’.”

Susie, who had two surviving children, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren, was 66 when she died in 2017. She had already seen Team Susie raise £20,000 through many events including a Boxing Day dip, Race for Life, a calendar, car boot sales, parties, raffles, mass exercise get-togethers and socials at the local pub, The Grand Station Lounge.

“Susie was like the figurehead of it all,” said Lisa. “She would go and ask anybody for money or for anything – she was great. She was a hard person to say no to. She was bossy but she was funny. Everybody liked her.”

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Lisa said her family had experienced a lot of heartache because of the disease.

“Our experience means I understand the importance of Cancer Research UK’s work all too clearly,” she said.

"The worst thing is telling your family you’ve got cancer. They say half of all people are going to get it, so I think we’ve done our share.”

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