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Celebrities back cancer charity efforts

PUBLISHED: 07:56 21 May 2008 | UPDATED: 08:58 13 July 2010

SHE was a doting mum, successful businesswoman and dynamic money-raiser whose vibrant life was cut short by cancer.

But Vikki Sipek's memory lives on with a charity fund aiming to tackle the disease that took her away from her young daughter and comedy writer husband.

SHE was a doting mum, successful businesswoman and dynamic money-raiser whose vibrant life was cut short by cancer.

But Vikki Sipek's memory lives on with a charity fund aiming to tackle the disease that took her away from her young daughter and comedy writer husband.

It has already been boosted by an event which made £14,500 thanks to support from showbiz stars, including Jonathan Ross, Jo Brand, Ricky Gervais, Frank Skinner and David Baddiel.

Now Norfolk celebrity chef Galton Blackiston is starring in a summery cookery demonstration to add another helping of cash to the good cause.

Vikki was 44 when she lost her 10-year battle with cancer, which was first diagnosed in her breast and initially responded to chemo and radiotherapy.

She and husband Carl Gorham lived in London's fashionable Greenwich area, where she was national distribution manager for fashion store chain Warehouse, and he was writing and performing comedy material for stage, radio and screen.

They bought a second home in north Norfolk as a “bolt hole” to escape the trauma of treatment, but fell in love with the area and later moved to Lower Bodham full-time.

The couple also had daughter Romy, now seven, who Mr Gorham said was a “miracle baby” because doctors said Vikki was unlikely to have any children because of her cancer treatment.

“We were aware the cancer could come back, but you get to a stage where you just get on with life,” said Mr Gorham.

It did, but Vikki was determined not to let the disease stop her living life. “She was determined to be herself and not just labelled as a cancer patient,” he added.

At the time of her death last September, she was chairman of the Gresham's pre-preparatory school parent teacher association, organising fundraising and social events.

The family went on a “big holiday” to Australia, where they cuddled koalas, fed kangaroos, and went to a performance in the Sydney Opera House. But on the flight home, Vikki, who had been feeling unwell, was taken seriously ill and rushed to hospital at Hong Kong where she died from multiple organ failure a few days later.

“It was a shock. The cancer had spread further than we thought and the doctors said they were amazed she had done so much,” said Mr Gorham.

Family and friends threw themselves into helping Breakthrough Breast Cancer, where funds can be set up in memory of loved ones.

Last September's first big fundraiser drew on the couple's showbiz contacts. Mr Gorham has written TV comedy shows, including Just a Gigolo for Tony Slattery, Agony Again for Maureen Lipman and an animation series called Stressed Eric, where Vikki joined him as producer.

He is also a director of the Absolutely Productions company.

Stars gave items for auctions which were introduced by comedian David Baddiel, whose partner Morwena Banks is also involved with the company and is godmother to Romy.

The next event for the Vikki Sipek Crocus Tribute Fund is a cookery demonstration, by Galton Blackiston, with a Pimms reception and Blaise Le Mesurier wine tasting, at Blakeney Harbour Room on Thursday, June 12 from 7.30pm, tickets £35. More details on 07786 257572.

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