Anyone who has lost loved ones to cancer will have been shaken to bits by his writing - I certainly was. My parents and sister all died of cancer between 1994 and 2000 and in those days diagnosis in the NHS could be held up by the system's set-up, and unfortunately it still is - this might well be, says Gill, partly why the UK's cancer survival rates are so poor compared to those in other European countries. Yet the human touch of the NHS, he adds, still made Gill choose to go under its auspices in preference to any other possibilities.
Now there's an unusually productive "meme" going around Facebook called Carols4Cancer. It was started by the tenor David Webb in 2014, in memory of a friend, and it's a bit like the ice-bucket one, only warmer. It's now in its third year, aiming to match the previous campaigns' target of £5000 for the Institute of Cancer Research, London. And it demonstrates the positive uses of the Internet and social media, should we choose to employ them this way.
You film yourself singing a Christmas carol, upload it to Facebook, Twitter or other social media, then nominate three other people to do the same, and ask your viewers to donate to Carols4Cancer at the Institute for Cancer Research. You can make donations by texting CLCR81 £5 to 70070, or via the JustGiving page here.
David, who sang the Young Sailor in ENO's Tristan and Isolde this past summer, adds:
Last year as caveat to the #Carols4Cancer Campaign, I rowed the distance of the English Channel 9 times in 24 days and this year I'm going to be putting myself through my paces again.
From the 1st December to the 24th - I'm teaming up with Virgin Active and will be...
Cycling the distance of John O Groats to Lands End
Swimming the English Channel
Running 3 Marathons
Here's the latest contribution to Carols4Christmas - from that supertenor Tristan Stuart Skelton. Enjoy. https://www.facebook.com/stuart.skelton.14/videos/1300367380015428/