WHEN Bolton councillor Alan Walsh was diagnosed with a terminal illness last year he immediately decided he wanted to use his remaining time to do something positive for others.
The Conservative councillor, who has represented Hulton Ward for the past 14 years, recently celebrated his 80th birthday and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to raise money for charity.
He and his wife, Jean Mavis, held a party for friends and family at the Over Hulton Conservative Club and asked everyone who attended to make a donation to Bolton Hospice instead of buying him a gift.
And he received about 50 cards and raised more than £840 in donations for the hospice.
Cllr Walsh was diagnosed with mesothelioma in the summer of last year — a form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos, something he is likely to have come in to contact with regularly during a 50 year career in the construction, heating and plumbing industries.
He said: “My wife and I were on holiday last year when I became ill and I was told I had fluid on my lungs.
“After flying home a doctor told me I was terminally ill and gave me six to 12 months to live.
“I decided then that I would like to do something positive — what else can you do?
“You have to keep occupied and if you can make a positive contribution then great.
“Bolton Hospice is a very good, local charity and my brother was well looked after during a stay there before he passed away — we have other connections to the hospice so we were very happy to support it.”
Cllr Walsh said that despite his diagnosis, he is feeling well and will continue to fulfil his responsibilities as a ward councillor as long as he is fit and able.
His friend and fellow Hulton Councillor, Cllr Andy Morgan was at the party and is also a trustee of Bolton Hospice.
He said: “Alan is a dear friend and colleague and he and his wife have had a very difficult year, so for them to think about others in the way that they have is amazing .
“On behalf of the hospice I can say that we are very grateful for their efforts.
“It was a very happy occasion at Alan’s birthday party and it was a chance to celebrate everything that he has done for the local community.”