Tyne & Wear

Singer and cancer fundraiser Maggie Ross loses fight for life

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Media captionThe 63-year-old Charlie Bear Appeal singer performs her last concert just over a week ago

A singer who helped raise £1m for a Newcastle cancer unit more than 30 years ago has died from the disease.

Blues Singer Maggie Ross recorded a single for the Charlie Bear Appeal in 1981 and its sale helped raise money for a state-of-the-art scanner.

In June, the 63-year-old was diagnosed with terminal lung and brain cancer and was treated in the unit she fundraised for at the Freeman Hospital.

Ms Ross, of Washington, passed away at Sunderland Royal Hospital on Sunday.

She performed her last concert just over a week ago and recently raised £4,000 during a charity night.

The singer received palliative radiotherapy treatment at the Newcastle unit.

'Fantastic career'

Three weeks ago she told the BBC: "There are so many people dying of cancer every minute of the day. I want to turn my death around and make it into something very useful.

"When I came for treatment I noticed the Charlie Bear fundraising shop.

"It is still raising money to provide the very best cancer treatment in the North East. I guess I thought it was fate.

"Over the years, I've had a fantastic career in the entertainment industry and met some wonderful, talented people.

"When I found out I had terminal cancer, I wanted to host a party for all my friends and family, just to have a good time and reminisce."

The Charlie Bear for Cancer Care Appeal was launched by Daisy Clarke of Morpeth, and her husband, Charlie.

Its aim was to buy the first CT whole body scanner for the hospital's Northern Centre for Cancer Care.

As part of the fundraising effort, a song, Come On In, was written by local composer Mike Bersin, which Ms Ross was asked to record.

Mrs Clarke and her husband also made and sold thousands of teddy bears with a team of volunteers.

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