WET WEATHER failed to dampen fundraisers’ spirits as Witney turned pink for charity.

Despite the best efforts of the elements, dozens of hardy souls came together on Saturday for the 19th edition of Witney in the Pink, an annual event in aid of Abingdon-based charity Against Breast Cancer.

While attractions including belly dancers and a choir were unable to perform due to health and safety concerns, the rain did not dash the celebratory mood in the Market Square.

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The positive atmosphere went up a notch when Witney in the Pink organiser Jeanne Chattoe received a Points of Light Award, which the Prime Minister gives to outstanding volunteers who make a difference in their community.

Ms Chattoe has helped raise around £500,000 over the last 24 years, including more than £250,000 for Against Breast Cancer.

The award took the dedicated volunteer by surprise, but Ms Chattoe, who lost her sister and mother to breast cancer and has twice overcome the disease herself, insisted the day was not about her.

She said: “I thought it was totally amazing and was nearly in tears.

“I don’t do it for the awards, I do it because it’s affected my family so much – particularly my younger sister and my mother.

“It’s just something I feel that I’ve got to do for my daughter, that woman in the street, anyone that could be affected by it.

“The people of Witney are lovely and very supportive.

“But I couldn’t do it without my team.”

Oxford Mail:

A small group of volunteers collected donations, sold cakes and organised a tombola through the rain, although the weather meant organisers were expecting a final total below last year’s £6,000 mark.

Several shops displayed balloons in their windows, with Bakers Butchers in Woolgate Shopping Centre the day’s unofficial hub.

Across the road, The Shake Shop was particularly popular as excited children crammed into its pink pop-up zoo full of unusual pets, including a tarantula, a quail and a snake.

It illustrated residents’ enthusiasm for the event and Witney MP Robert Courts, who presented Ms Chattoe with her award, paid tribute to the day’s enduring community appeal.

He said: “Jeanne is a Witney legend because Witney in the Pink has been a highlight of the calendar for years and years.

“Time and again Witney shows its community spirit and the day, in the freezing cold and rain, showed nothing was going to put people off.”

Laura Hounam has been on the Witney in the Pink committee since the very beginning and was one of those braving the awful weather to sell cakes.

She said: “We’ll make a little bit less than if it was nice and sunny.

“The town has definitely got more behind it every year.

“It’s now a landmark in the Witney calendar.

“People were disappointed with the weather but they still go along because they look forward to such things.”