Fundraisers reach helicopter target to get poorly Hartlepool man to Glastonbury 'one last time'

Friends of a festival lover who has been told he has weeks left to live have surpassed their fundraising goal to get him to Glastonbury “one last time”.

By Neil Fatkin
Monday, 20th June 2022, 10:36 am

Nigel Stonehouse, 58, a former bricklayer from Hartlepool, was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney in mid-May.

It has spread to his lungs with doctors telling him it is incurable, friends say.

He had been due to go to Glastonbury this week but could not travel without medical help.

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So his friends launched a fundraiser to pay for a helicopter to fly him there from Stockton’s University Hospital of North Tees.

Between the hours of Sunday afternoon and Sunday evening, the fundraiser jumped from £9,000 to £12,000 from more than 800 donors and had reached £13,000 by Monday.

Musician Fatboy Slim, who is performing at the Somerset festival this year, is among those backing the cause and urging his followers to do likewise on social media.

Mr Stonehouse’s close friend, Lizzie Beggs, said it was his “dying wish” to be with all of his friends at Glastonbury “even if only for a few hours for one last time”.

Friends of terminally ill former Hatlepool bricklayer, Nigel Stonehouse, are hoping to raise enough money to charter a helicopter to grant his "dying wish" to see Glastonbury Festival for one last time.

“He is currently an inpatient at North Tees hospital and their wonderful palliative care team have assured him that they will do all they can to make this happen.

“Within hours they had contacted site managers at the festival who advised that they would facilitate in ways that they can.

“Unfortunately there is no space left in the accessible areas – Nige has a general sale ticket - but they will facilitate entry via the accessible car park.

“This is obviously a huge undertaking, and will be costly, the palliative care team suggested commissioning a helicopter – the first quote we have had is for £12,000.”

Nigel Stonehouse, 58, pictured at a previous Glastonbury Festival. He was diagnosed with cancer of his kidney in mid-May and has been told he only has weeks left to live. Photograph: PA

Mr Stonehouse, described as a “festival veteran”, has gone to Glastonbury with his friends for the last 30 years and has seen the Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash and David Bowie perform there.

His friends say he is “very stubborn and determined” despite his condition and looks forward to watching Diana Ross this year.

Maria Beggs said: “He’s feeling positive and it’s given him a boost and something positive to hope for.”

As the fundraiser hit then surpassed its target on Sunday evening, Ms Beggs said Mr Stonehouse was “over the moon”.