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Poetry book raises funds for Maggie’s centre

A booklet of poems by staff and students of the University of St Andrews School of English will raise money for the cancer charity Maggie’s Centre.

Titled Sands and published on Thursday, the booklet features work by celebrated poets Douglas Dunn, Don Paterson, Robert Crawford, John Burnside and Michael Alexander, alongside poems by talented undergraduate and graduate students. The entire proceeds from sale of the booklets, which cost £2 each, will be donated to Maggie’s Centre, a charity supporting cancer sufferers and their families, which aims to build a new facility in Kirkcaldy in 2003.

Martin Crawford, the final-year undergraduate who conceived and organised the booklet, said, “I hope that both townsfolk and students will buy a copy of Sands – as a stockingfiller, a memento, or just a good deed. The poems are very good: it’s not often that you can buy writing of this quality for £2. But, more importantly, every penny spent will go straight to Maggie’s in Kirkcaldy.”

Martin, 23, devotes much of his spare time to raising money for cancer charities. Last year he walked 130 kms in 40˚C heat through the Namibian desert to raise £2,000. His aims for Sands are slightly more modest – “I’d be happy if we raise £1,000”, he said, “but I hope that some people, as well as buying the booklet, might consider making a direct donation to Maggie’s Centre too”.

Maggie’s Centre is a pioneering Scottish service founded in Edinburgh in the late 1990s by cancer sufferer Maggie Keswick Jencks, who felt that little support beyond clinical treatment was available to cancer patients and their families. Maggie’s Centres offer support of all kinds from nutritional expertise, counselling and relaxation therapies to advice on prosthesis and claiming appropriate benefits.

Their goal is to keep people with cancer as healthy in mind and body as possible, enabling them to participate actively in their treatment. J K Rowling and Kirsty Wark are both patrons of Maggie’s Centre, which has been so successful that a new centre has recently opened in Glasgow and one is planned for Dundee. Building on a Maggie’s Centre attached to the Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy will begin in 2003. £200,000 has already been raised for the building’s shell, but a similar amount is still needed to furnish and equip it.

Copies of the poetry booklet Sands are available from the School of English (tel: 01334 462666), from Martin direct on email mhc2@st-andrews.ac.uk or from many retailers in St Andrews.

Direct donations to Maggie’s Centre can be arranged by phoning Eleanor Pattinson on 01592 643355 x8868.

Issued by Beattie Media on behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information please contact: Claire Grainger on 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or email cg24@st- andrews.ac.uk View University press releases on- line at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk Ref: poetrybook/standrews/chg/10dec2002

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