Family to run in memory of beloved Saffron Walden uncle

PUBLISHED: 08:00 04 September 2016

Charlotte, Natasha and Evie-May

Charlotte, Natasha and Evie-May

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A family is planning a sponsored 5K run to raise money for Alcohol Concern in memory of their uncle from Saffron Walden who died in April.

Charlotte Bashford, 28, her daughter Evie-May, four, and Charlotte’s sister Natasha Drage, 25, will be running at Willen Lake in Milton Keynes on Sunday, October 16, in aid of the charity, which aims to reduce the harm caused by alcohol-related issues.

The organisation behind the Dry January campaigns at a national level is lobbying Parliament to raise the price of alcohol.

John Baker, 52, died earlier this year from lobar pneumonia, but Charlotte had only learned last winter that her uncle was an alcoholic, and that his death was a complication of his condition. Alcoholism can severely affect the immune system and this is a common complication. A simple inoculation could have saved her uncle’s life, which is another reason why Charlotte wants to raise awareness of the condition.

“I didn’t know until he was admitted to hospital last year,” said Charlotte. “He was what’s called a functioning alcoholic. He was a real high flyer and was always so well turned-out.”

Mr Baker was admitted to Addenbrookes Hospital last year and discharged after a detox treatment. While Charlotte says they tried their best to keep an eye on their uncle, who lived on his own at Johnson’s Yard in the centre of Saffron Walden. 
They say he received little or no support after being discharged.

Charlotte said: “We want people to know that alcoholism isn’t a lifestyle choice. It’s a disease. And Uncle John had no help or support after leaving hospital.”

He relapsed sometime around New Year and was found dead at his home in April.

“He had a fantastic sense of humour,” said Charlotte. “They played ‘Don’t Jump Off the Roof Dad‘ by Tommy Cooper at his funeral.”

Charlotte remembers her uncle as the ‘John Lewis washing bag man’.

“He was a bit of a mummy’s boy and never bought a washing machine. He always got my nan to do his washing and he always brought it in a big John Lewis bag.”

Charlotte has set a modest target of £150 for the event and is hoping that friends and family will turn out in October to support the family.

“If we could help just one family...” she said.

To donate, go to www.justgiving.co.uk and search for Charlotte Bashford.

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