It is almost a year since 30 year old Bexhill man Lee Hastings lost his battle against brain cancer.
The former soldier won many hearts locally as he fought this most desperate of enemies with courage and humour all the way before he died at home with his wife and mum close by, on August 28 2014.
One of Lee’s great achievements was to get through the Poppy Run in November 2013 with the help and strength of his close family and friends - these included younger brother Ross who this year will be running the Bexhill half-marathon again in his brother’s name.
Not only that but Ross, 26, works at Marks and Spencer in Ravenside where staff have decided their charity of the year will be the Brain Tumour Charity, because of the personal connection with Lee, and a team of 16 will be taking part, including Ross, to fundraise and spread awareness.
M&S will be holding different types of events through the year which include an in-store Waxathon on July 18 so everyone is invited to come along and watch victims go through this uncomfortable and public ordeal to do their bit.
Next up will be a charity boot sale - staff have been collecting items they don’t want from home and donating it to sell at a future boot fair, the date of which is yet to be confirmed. The store will update when details are available but in the meantime welcome any donations.
Also soon to be happening will be a games day in store such as guess the amount of sweets in the jar, Price Is Right, etc.
There are collection points all over the store so customers can donate as they shop, or through the JustGiving page for M&S Bexhill.
Lee was a former Bexhill High pupil who joined the Queen’s Grenadier Guards having passed out at the age of 21. He served in Afghanistan, where he was attached to the Royal Anglians, as well as Iraq. He had left the army and settled in Hornchurch, working in security.
Mum Angela Hastings described M&S efforts for the Brain Tumour Charity as “absolutely fantastic” adding: “M&S could have chosen the charity without that connection but because Ross is working there, who lost his brother, it makes it so much more personal.”
As Lee’s birthday draws closer, on July 31, she is herself planning a family and friends fundraiser on August 1 in Mitten Road, but admits this has been “the worst year.”
Angela, of Salisbury Road, said: “I cannot believe how quickly this year has gone. I have had so much support, and people just keep me going really. I do have dark moments but there is always someone to lift me up.”