A CANCER charity says it has never needed the support of people in Basingstoke more, as new figures reveal an expected 70 per cent drop in income from its flagship fundraising event.

Last year people in Basingstoke raised £60,200 for Macmillan Cancer Support by taking part in coffee mornings.

The money raised funds its vital services including Macmillan nurses and patient grants.

This year, figures show the number of people planning to hold a coffee morning across the Basingstoke area has fallen by around 70 per cent, and the charity fears there will be an equivalent fall in money raised.

Macmillan’s partnership manager Sinead Parry said: “ It is a tough time to receive a cancer diagnosis with disruption to treatment and fears of increased risk of becoming infected with coronavirus.

“A huge 98% of Macmillan’s income is from donations and events like Coffee Morning. While Coffee Morning can’t take place in exactly the same way as before this year, there are still lots of ways to get involved.

“At Macmillan we’re facing a possible tsunami of demand coming towards us this autumn, as the cancer system gets moving again and the backlog of delayed diagnoses begins to be dealt with. Worryingly this increased need for support would come at a time when our fundraised income has dropped significantly.

“We’re facing the hardest year in our 109-year history. It’s no exaggeration to say Macmillan and people with cancer have never needed the public’s help more than we do right now.”

Macmillan is encouraging people to take part however suits them, from having a socially distanced coffee morning safely from their doorstep, to setting up a virtual one online.

A coffee morning held annually in Hook village has made some changes this year to ensure it can still go ahead. COVID-19 Secure guidelines will be followed, with tables of a maximum of six people socially distanced in the large hall.

Volunteers will wear PPE and contact details will be taken to comply with the new regulations. There will also be a takeway option.

David, chairman of the Hook Village Halls Charitable Association, said: “Nothing stops Hook supporting Macmillan’s coffee morning and we know how much people with cancer need Macmillan’s support and help, now more than ever. Let’s do this!”

The event will take place 2-4pm on Thursday, September 24 at the Elizabeth Hall, Raven Road, Hook.

The £27.5m total raised through the Coffee Morning events across the UK in 2019 is expected to fall to under £8m this year - the lowest amount raised in 11 years.

The charity fears its supporters don’t realise the event is still going ahead, and is urging people to find out about the new ways to take part.