COLUMN by Crawley MP Henry Smith: Make some time to support charities

I believe that it is always important to take the time to support charities, both locally and nationally for the significant work they do to raise awareness and essential funds towards a specific issue.

With Christmas nearly upon us, last Sunday I was delighted to take part in the Santas on the Run charity event dashing a mile through the centre of Crawley dressed as Father Christmas in aid of Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice.

Despite being out of breath afterwards I was grateful to be awarded with my first mince pie of the season and a medal!

Chestnut Tree House is the only one of its kind throughout Sussex and I have seen firsthand the wonderful environment they provide for very sick children and their families at about the most distressing time one could imagine.

I am very grateful to local residents for supporting me on the Run and if you would like to find out more about Chestnut Tree House, the work they do and how to support them, please visit

I hope that by taking part we can make it a very special Christmas for the children and families that the organisation supports.

Furthermore, I am also proud to be supporting the ‘Movember’ campaign this month in which I, along with thousands of other men, will (try to!) grow a moustache with the aim of raising vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer.

I am delighted that for every pound I raise, Royal Mail has pledged match it with a contribution to the charity. From its small beginnings in Australia, Movember has grown to become a global movement with over 854,000 people taking part in 2011, raising an remarkable £80 million for the cause.

It is important that we continue to work to educate men about the health risks they face such as prostate cancer, and importantly to act on that knowledge, subsequently increasing the chances of early detection, diagnosis and effective treatment.

This is an issue which affects a vast number of people and I am pleased to be increasing awareness and raising funds for such a great cause.

If you wish to contribute to my Movember campaign please visit Any contribution will assist in the fight against cancer.