A SOLICITORS in Oxfordshire has been awarded a gold certificate from Cancer Research UK, after raising over £2million for the charity.

Bower & Bailey LLP received the award in recognition of the amount the firm and its clients have raised for the charity through gifts in wills.

The firm, which has offices in Witney, Oxford and Banbury, has been supporting Cancer Research UK’s will scheme for more than 20 years.

The scheme sees Bower & Bailey give guidance and support to those wishing to write a will or update an existing one.

During that time, over £2million has been pledged to the charity as part of the scheme.

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Bower & Bailey is one of about 800 members nationally who support the cause.

Cancer Research UK is the world’s largest cancer charity and is dedicated to saving lives through research and supporting the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.

Gifts in wills are important to the charity as they fund over a third of the charity’s life-saving research.

Brit Stevens, a senior solicitor at Bower & Bailey in Summertown, said: “The firm has done the scheme for a number of years.

“We offer it to clients or sometimes they've already heard of it or even had cancer themselves and want to donate and make a difference.

“We do a few a month and the money is variable - some people can be quite generous.

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“To see we've raised that amount over the years is amazing.

“Everyone in the private client department is involved and we're looking forward to carrying this on as it's rewarding for us that someone will have their affairs sorted and in order and that a charity can also benefit from this.

“Quite often people will die without a will so it is always good when someone leaves one that can also benefit a good cause.”

Kirsty Southgate, a senior solicitor at Bower & Bailey in Witney, said: “It has been a pleasure to have supported the Cancer Research Free Will Scheme for many years and to have been able to raise so much money for such a worthy charity - at the same time as helping clients to get their legal affairs in order.

“It is incredibly rewarding to know that, by participating in this scheme, we are helping to support not only those going through cancer and their families but also to help further medical advances and research in this area.

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“This will hopefully have a lasting benefit for generations to come.

“Bower & Bailey are committed to supporting charities and the community and this scheme is just one of the ways in which we are able to do that.”

Clare Moore, director of legacies at Cancer Research UK, said: “We all reach a stage at some point in our lives where we start to look ahead and consider what will happen to our financial affairs in the future when we may no longer be around.

“We are grateful to Bower & Bailey for the expertise and sensitivity they show in providing clear information and guidance to help people across the Thames Valley to make the best choices for them.

“It’s thanks to these vital donations and the generosity of our supporters that we are able to keep making progress in the fight against the disease.”

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Charlotte Waite, legacy partnerships manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “Anyone over the age of 18 can update their will for free from our members who take part in this service.

“We’re really trying to publicise the importance of gifting in wills.

“In October, we opened the service to anyone over the age of 18 rather than over 55 which is brilliant as we can now appeal to younger people.

“Younger people can now join the scheme whilst also highlighting the importance to them of writing a will.

“The money that has been raised by Bower & Bailey is fantastic as we don’t receive any government funding.

“It really is an enormous amount.”

Cancer Research UK’s Free Will Service has been running successfully for over 20 years across a network of solicitors nationwide.

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People using the service are asked to consider leaving a legacy gift to Cancer Research UK but are under no obligation to do so.

Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.

The charity has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival in the UK double in the last 40 years.

Today, two in four people survive their cancer for at least 10 years.

Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to accelerate progress so that by 2034, three in four people will survive their cancer for at least 10 years.

The charity receives no funding from the UK government for its life-saving research.

Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on vital donations from the public, such as will donations, which raise much-needed funds.