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Hartsdown teacher Luke Williams vows to marry fiancee Linda Birzniece as pals raise £14,000 for Pilgrims Hospice

By Rachael Woods

A huge fundraiser has notched up more than £15,000 in just a few days - in honour of a popular teacher told he has only six months to live.

Luke Williams, 29, has launched his own bucket list - as he vows to make the most of his last days.

Now his friends are ensuring he will never be forgotten after launching a massive fundraising campaign for Pilgrims Hospice in Luke’s name.

Luke on holiday in Miami
Luke on holiday in Miami

It brought in £14,194 in just two days - and by last night that had topped £15,500.

Liam Morris, 29, Luke’s close friend and fellow coach at East Kent College Football Club, has even consulted fundraisers for Stephen Sutton, the Staffordshire teenager who raised £3.2m for the Teenage Cancer Trust before he died of the disease in May.

“It’s not a surprise we’ve raised so much already,” said Liam.

“Luke is a great character, so many people love him and he’s got the best outlook on life of anyone I know.

“I’m trying to find out how we can raise more money as Luke really wants to support the Pilgrims Hospice.”

Brave Luke of Westfield Road, Margate, was diagnosed with mouth cancer on the day of his 28th birthday on June 18 last year.

Luke Williams, with fiance Linda Birzniece
Luke Williams, with fiance Linda Birzniece

He had to have his tongue partially removed but recovered from the disease after chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment, even going back to work at Hartsdown in January.

Sadly the IT teacher, a former Hartsdown pupil, went on to develop secondary cancer in both lungs, which doctors told him was terminal in May.

He has decided to stop the aggressive cancer treatment and is now having palliative care and help for pain relief so that he can enjoy his remaining days.

Luke said: “The support that has been given to me and my family by the Pilgrims Hospice in Margate is unbelievable.

"They are unsung heroes and I want to raise as much money for them as possible.”

When he learned that his cancer was terminal, Luke said: “After I was told I had six months to live and it had sunk in, I just accepted it. I was at peace with it and decided I would enjoy the life I had left.”

Luke Williams, far right with the purple top, with his East Kent College Football Club teammates
Luke Williams, far right with the purple top, with his East Kent College Football Club teammates

Luke has kept true to this promise as he has drawn up a bucket list of things he wants to do before he dies.

One of them was a trip to Europe by train and he has just returned with fiancee Linda Birzniece.

Another wish is to marry Linda, which he will do at Smiths Court Hotel, Cliftonville on Friday, August 8.

Funds raised will also go the Cancer Research UK, as well as towards helping Luke complete his bucket list.

Luke’s bucket list is:

  • To marry Linda (August 8)
  • Take a trip in a hot air balloon
  • See favourite side Liverpool at Anfield (booked for August 17)
  • Go to the V Festival (booked for August 16)
  • To attend the wedding of best mate Liam Morris in Crete on August 26
  • To take a train ride around Europe (completed)
  • Have a big party – Luke will do this at his wedding reception

To donate for Luke, click here. There are also plans for a weekend of fundraising activities for Luke. For details, click here.

A five-a-side tournament is taking place on Sunday, August 17 at Margate and teams are needed. For details, phone Albert Finigan on 07973 909107.

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