Borderers urged to wear lavender colours to work to boost cancer charity’s coffers

Lavender  Touch.
Lavender Touch.

PEOPLE across the Borders are being asked to wear something lavender to work at the end of this month as a way of showing support for the work of a local cancer charity.

The Lavender Touch is marking its 10th anniversary this year and is hoping its ‘Wear Lavender to Work Day’ on March 29 will repeat the success of a similar event two years ago.

Lavender Touch

Lavender Touch

People joining in are asked to donate £1 and the money will go towards funding the charity’s continued work.

TheSouthern is media sponsor for The Lavender Touch’s special 10th anniversary appeal – to raise £150,000 to expand the service and realise a long-held dream of opening a dedicated Lavender Touch Centre.

Founded in 2003 by Heather Runciman from Lauder, Galashiels photographer Sheila Scott, and award-winning complementary therapist Jan Beattie, from Selkirk, The Lavender Touch has helped more than 2,000 Borders families with its complementary therapy treatments.

These can help alleviate some of the symptoms experienced by those living with cancer, such as insomnia, muscle aches and pains, anxiety, low mood and nausea.

Over the past decade, The Lavender Touch has grown and now boasts 13 therapists and a co-ordinator who works in conjunction with NHS Borders.

Sheila, who serves as the charity’s secretary, explained about the up-coming fundraising event, which sees people being urged to wear something lavender coloured to work.

“Following a very successful Wear lavender to Work Dayin April, 2011, the charity has decided to run the event once again to see if they can get the Borders wearing lavender and fundraising for us by paying £1 to wear lavender – in whatever form – to work,” Sheila told us this week.

“We also hope this will raise awareness of the service The Lavender Touch charity provides. The previous event was supported by Scottish Borders Council which encouraged the workforce to take part. Schools, dentists, solicitors, tradesmen and NHS staff also enthusiastically supported the previous event. We hope to make it even bigger this year.

“Although planned for Good Friday – March 29 – we are aware of businesses which intend taking part and fundraise by wearing lavender on Thursday, March 28, too.

“With a few volunteers, we plan to visit as many as possible so we can record their participation in photographs which will then be used on our website and hopefully in The Southern Reporter.

“We therefore urge people to get in touch by email on to tell us, or alternatively they can send in their own pictures.”

Anyone who lives in the Borders and has cancer is eligible for treatment from The Lavender Touch, as are those who spend most of their time and energy looking after someone living with the disease.

A property has already been identified in the central Borders for the hoped-for new centre, which is within easy reach of the Borders General Hospital, the local Macmillan Centre and the new Margaret Kerr Unit. New architectural drawings show the centre, constructed on a site close to the BGH and complete with therapy rooms – which would also be used for counselling and advocacy – education/training facilities, production unit, garden, coffee area and shop. This centre will become the focus of The Lavender Touch cancer service in the Borders, taking forward ideas and products to benefit people living with cancer.

“With a designated space we could be more efficient in the way we process referrals.

“Also, patients could have direct contact with us and be able to pop into the centre for support,” explained Sheila.

Fundraising ideas suggested on the charity’s website include everything from bake and sell cakes events and coffee mornings to sponsored walks, bag-making, cycling and car washes.

And there are now a number of fundraising dates for your 2013 diary, providing opportunities to show support and help raise cash.

Dates for your diary: May 19 – duck race (Melrose); May 26 – plant sale at Glendouglas Hall, near Jedburgh; June 1 – Zumbathon at Galashiels Academy; June 16 – sponsored walk, from Melrose to Lauder along Southern Upland Way; September 29 – golf and spa day with evening dinner dance at MacDonald Cardrona Hotel; October 10 – Big Afternoon Tea (location to be arranged); November 24 – Christmas craft and gift fair, Lauderdale Hotel.

Every month throughout 2013, TheSouthern will run feature articles in support of The Lavender Touch, as well as publish reports and photographs from events. More at