Tim Bilton: Yorkshire TV chef living with stage four cancer named charity patron

A cancer charity has appointed a prominent television chef from Yorkshire as its patron to focus on raising awareness and helping its financial appeals for support.

The Weston Park Cancer Charity has officially named celebrity chef Tim Bilton, who has appeared on Great British Menu and This Week on the Farm, to help promote the organisation.

Mr Bilton, from Huddersfield, who is living with stage four cancer, was first diagnosed with a rare type of melanoma in 2013 after his wife Adele spotted an unusual shadow in his eye.

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At the time, the ambitious chef was preparing to open his second restaurant and aiming for a Michelin star.

Tim Bilton pictured at Cannon Hall, near Barnsley. Picture by Simon HulmeTim Bilton pictured at Cannon Hall, near Barnsley. Picture by Simon Hulme
Tim Bilton pictured at Cannon Hall, near Barnsley. Picture by Simon Hulme

“I was so proud when I opened my first restaurant and I’d regularly put in 17-hour days, determined to one day have a Michelin star,” said the 50-year-old from Kirkburton.

“For a long time, it felt like nothing could stop me from achieving my dream.

“Being diagnosed with cancer is like being hit by a steam train.

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"For me, it was a huge wake-up call. I realised that I could work all the hours in the world, but nothing was more important than spending time with my two young boys and my wonderful wife.”

Mr Bilton has now been through multiple operations and rounds of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy at the Weston Park Cancer Centre in Sheffield.

“I couldn’t be more grateful to the incredible staff at Weston Park Cancer Centre who have been with me through it all,” he said.

“They’ve given me the most precious gift there is: more time with my amazing family and friends.

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“My cancer is now incurable, but I refuse to let it define me.

"I just focus on making life as normal as possible for my family and enjoying every moment I have with them.”

He added: “I was so humbled to be asked to be a patron of Weston Park Cancer Charity.

“Without Weston Park and the cancer charity, I wouldn’t be here today.

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"As patron, I’ll be focusing on raising awareness and raising as much as possible for research – so that we can find even better treatments for cancer patients.”

Mr Bilton is now calling on supporters of the charity to back this year’s Christmas Star appeal, which will raise vital funds for research and services for people in the region.

Speaking about the festive campaign, he said: “Weston Park Cancer Charity provides such amazing support to people and families living with the impact of cancer – from therapy to free transport to appointments.

"Money raised through this year’s Christmas Star appeal will also fund life-saving research, so I hope people deep dig and give what they can to support this vital cause.”

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Weston Park Cancer Charity chief executive officer Emma Clarke said: “Tim’s support of the charity has been nothing short of amazing and we’re delighted to announce him as our newest patron.

"We look forward to working closely with Tim as we strive to create a better life for everyone in our region who is affected by cancer.”

Donations this Christmas will help Weston Park Cancer Charity to provide emotional, financial and practical support to people in the region who are living with cancer.

Weston Park provides world-leading cancer treatment delivered by some of the most highly regarded cancer specialists in Europe.

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But what makes it special is the way it cares for people. A spokesman said: “We know that kindness, clarity of information and unstinting support for you and your loved ones is as important as the cutting-edge technologies and treatments we have available.”

Weston Park has a transformation strategy which provides a vision for the future of specialised cancer services across the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw area.

It has invested over £15m in new facilities, services and pioneering research programmes to ensure it remains a world leader in cancer care.

Now it is embarking on a multi-million pound redevelopment of the Weston Park Cancer Centre to ensure its facilities match its ambitions for care.

Learn more at westonpark.org.uk/christmas.