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Family sets up birthday fundraiser for Airedale HODU

By 3 November 2022No Comments
Neil on his canal boat with field in background

The family of Neil Clegg, who is currently receiving treatment from Airedale Hospital’s Haematology and Oncology Day Unit (HODU), has set up a fundraiser to celebrate Neil’s 60th birthday on 9 November.


Neil and his partner Hilary were originally from Blackburn but now live on their canal boat along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Until his diagnosis, Neil was a boat fender maker around the Craven and Bradford area.


Neil was diagnosed with inoperable oesophageal cancer in June this year and was initially given a prognosis of 6 months.

Oesophageal cancer is a cancer that’s found anywhere in the oesophagus (also called the gullet or food pipe). It can make eating or swallowing difficult, and this can lead to rapid weight loss.


HODU provides care for patients with a variety of haematology and oncology conditions, many of whom visit the unit on a regular basis for chemotherapy and other treatments.


As well as celebrating Neil’s birthday and fundraising for a cause that means a lot to them, the family wants to raise awareness of oesophageal cancer and promote early recognition of the condition.


Hilary, Neil’s partner, said:

“We want to raise awareness of oesophageal cancer and promote early recognition of the condition. If Neil hadn’t been seen when he did, it could have been a different story.

“When Neil first started showing symptoms, we had no idea what it could be. It was not until he was seen and taken for tests and scans at Airedale that we found out.

“We’re thankful for the speed at which Neil was seen and has been treated; The HODU and UGI teams have been fantastic and supportive throughout the whole process.”


Helen and Zoë, Neil’s twin daughters, added:

“We want to give back to the HODU and UGI department as a thank you for looking after our dad and giving us more time with him. The support they’ve given to him, and his partner Hilary have been amazing and we’re very grateful to Airedale’s HODU and UGI units.

“The funds and support we give enable the staff at Airedale to go above and beyond for the Airedale community.”


To donate to Neil’s 60th birthday fundraiser, visit


Photographed: Neil on his canal boat