Celebrity chefs amongst hundreds to turn out for Norfolk fundraiser for “fantastic” woman

Winner Amie Abbs with the Bake Off judges. Picture: Vikki Hunt

Winner Amie Abbs with the Bake Off judges. Picture: Vikki Hunt - Credit: Vikki Hunt

A charity fundraiser held in memory of a 'fantastic woman' has raised thousands of pounds for a lesser-known strain of cancer.

Winner Amie Abbs. Picture: Vikki Hunt

Winner Amie Abbs. Picture: Vikki Hunt - Credit: Vikki Hunt

Pub owner Victoria Hunt was devastated when her friend of over 20 years, Debbie Sullivan, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died in January this year.

Having sat beside Debbie for many hours throughout her chemotherapy treatment watching cookery shows, Ms Hunt decided the best way to honour her friend's memory was to organise a bake off extravaganza.

'Debbie was a fantastic woman, she was my first manager out of college and we stayed friends ever since,' said Ms Hunt, who owns The Fox at Lyng and The Lodge in North Tuddenham.

She continued: 'She loved cookery programmes, we watched every episode of the Great British Menu with Richard Bainbridge in because he was her favourite chef. She used to watch Masterchef with score sheets.'

The judges in action. Picture: Vikki Hunt

The judges in action. Picture: Vikki Hunt - Credit: Vikki Hunt

It therefore could only have been fitting to have Mr Bainbridge, as well as Norfolk chef Charlie Hodson and the Fox's head chef Vic Rowling, judge the competition.

The bake off's final happened on April 21, at the Fox in Lyng, where hundreds of visitors as well as Debbie's daughter, husband and niece, enjoyed the event.

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Ms Hunt, 44, added: 'She would have loved that Richard was one of the judges. All three of them were fantastic, Charlie wanted to get on board as soon as I told him what I was thinking of doing.

'People don't know much about pancreatic cancer, most people don't even know what the pancreas does. So I really wanted to raise awareness around it because so often people don't even know what to look for, and by the time it's diagnosed it can be very severe.'

The winning cake was a Bakewell tart, baked by Amie Abbs.

Ms Hunt, who lives at The Lodge, said: 'It was the unanimous winner. Richard said the pastry reminded him of his childhood. One of my daughters was also in the final, and the other was there to support and help. It was very much a family event.'

So far the event has raised over £2,000, though the final amount has not been announced.

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