Terminally-ill Hartlepool man thanks donors for helping fund his funeral

Wayne Leighton
Wayne Leighton

Terminally-ill Wayne Leighton has raised almost £4,000 after launching an online fundraising page to pay for his own funeral.

The 42-year-old was given the devastating news that he has inoperable colon cancer and has less than nine months to live.

Wayne Leighton

Wayne Leighton

The punk music fan, who used to organise gigs around Hartlepool, decided to try to raise the cash so his family are not left with a big funeral bill when he is gone.

Wayne, who is virtually bed-bound, launched the page on website gofundme and within hours had already reached his initial £2,000 target.

He has decided to keep the page active and all extra cash will go to town charity Music Vs Cancer.

Wayne said: “I live my life around the DIY punk ethos. Why let someone else do it if you can do it yourself?

It’s kind of exciting doing it otherwise I’d end up just getting a black tie traditional funeral

Wayne Leighton

“It’s kind of exciting doing it, otherwise I’d end up just getting a black tie traditional funeral if it was left up to someone else.

“I’m a quirky lad so I want something different and something to amuse me and my guests on that fateful day.”

The online fund stands at £3,908, raised by 292 people in just 13 days.

People from all over the world, including strangers in America, have donated.

It is after the page was shared on Facebook including on a fans’ page for the musician Frank Turner, who Wayne is a big fan of.

The man himself shared a link to Wayne’s website and said: “This is my buddy Wayne. I’m sad as hell that he’s sick, but he’s going out in style for sure. Help if you can.”

Wayne added: “I put it live at six o’ clock on the night and went to sleep. The next morning it had already gone past £2,000. I thought ‘what’s going on?’

“People just started sharing it with bands and it just went through the roof.

“I would like to thank everyone who has donated and sent me kind words.

“I think it’s amazing.”

Wayne, who lives in the Murray Street area, was diagnosed around six weeks ago with the cancer ,which unfortunately had already spread to other parts of his body.

Twenty years ago he survived a bowel disease against the odds which saw him hospitalised for eight weeks, most of it in intensive care.

He is philosophical about dying and said: “I’m prepared for it. I think I have lived longer than I should have done. I always said I didn’t want to die a wrinkled old man.”

Despite his tragic situation Wayne has never lost his quirky sense of humour, and laughed at our front page headline when we put it to him.

His mum Joan Fletcher, 64, said: “It is sad but what will be will be. We try to be strong for him, he is just a likeable lad.”

You can donate until October 11 at www.gofundme.com/punkrockdiyfuneral

Bowel cancer

Charity Bowel Cancer Research is working to transform survival rates, from only one in every two people surviving over five years, to three out of four people surviving by 2025.

Symptoms of the disease can be bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo, unexplained weight loss, extreme tiredness for no obvious reason and a pain or lump in your tummy.

Early diagnosis is vital with over 90 per cent diagnosed at the earliest stage successfully treated.

People with diabetes, a history of Crohn’s disease in the large bowel, and other bowel conditions can have increased risk.

An inactive lifestyle and a poor diet that is low in fresh fruit and vegetables may increase the risk of bowel cancer.