Wednesday, 18 January 2012


IT WAS a chance glance at a website advertisement that led Ros Fry into a whole new career when she was least expecting it.

As Dorset Area Volunteer Manager for Cancer Research UK, Ros is currently responsible for looking after volunteers throughout the county and encouraging people to fundraise in whatever ways they can to help beat cancer.

With a background in Arts Marketing and Communications, Ros has found that her skills are very relevant to the work she now does for Cancer Research UK.

Ros is 52 and lives in Bridport with husband Chris, sons Matthew and Dominic, and Jack Russell terrier Lettie.

HOW did you end up getting the job?
Well, strangely enough I wasn’t really looking for a new job. I had never worked in a charity before. I’d worked all my life in the cultural sector, for museums and arts venues. Like a lot of people my friend got cancer and I’d been affected by that, so I was looking for information. The job just scrolled past me on a website and I thought, ‘Yeah, I could do that’, so I applied.

HOW has an arts background been of benefit to you in this job?
Working in the cultural sector was a lot about working with people, working out what motivates them and how to get the best out of them. That is exactly the same with the work I now do. People in the arts world are very passionate about what they do, so they will go the extra mile. They will work hard, not because they get good incomes, but because they are passionate. The same is true of fundraisers at Cancer Research UK. Also, the colleagues I work with are incredibly passionate and motivated people. It’s quite a change, a different world, but many of the things are the same.

WHAT kind of fundraising events have been going on in Dorset recently?
Well, some fundraisers are in groups that do regular events. There are 30 groups in Dorset that I regularly work with, so they may do the same things at certain times of the year. For instance, the Bridport group have a ‘Famous Curry Lunch’ every February, or they might do coffee mornings, or bingo or beetle drives as regular events. Then there are individual fundraisers who decide to do something as a challenge like cycling from John O’Groats to Lands End. I had a young man recently who got sponsored to shave off his dreadlocks.

HOW can people get involved with raising money for Cancer Research UK?
The best thing to do is look at the website and you can get a pamphlet that contains lots of ideas. Then I ring you up and help make it happen. Do something that you enjoy doing anyway and raise money from it. It’s fine if it’s only a small amount. If lots of people donate small amounts it adds up to making a huge difference. If you do just one meal this year where you ask friends to dress up and come to dinner and pay you money you could raise £100, and if everybody did that then it would be brilliant. Sponsored walks are always very successful, there’s one in Bournemouth and Poole every year that raises a lot. Also, the ‘Race for Life’ events are really popular and you get fit at the same time, there are races in Sherborne and Dorchester coming up this year. Fundraising galas and balls are good too as well as things that don’t cost too much to organise but are fun to do.

WHAT other interests do you have outside of work?
I play the ukulele, I play real tennis, I enjoy swimming and walking my dog Lettie, and I go to a book group which has been running for some time. It’s with a group of friends and we meet once a month. I like to read a lot.

WHAT three good reads would you recommend this year?
For Christmas I asked for three great books. One is called ‘Vertigo’ by Winfried Sebald; it’s a kind of philosophical travelogue. Then there’s ‘The Emperor of all Maladies’ by Siddhartha Mukherjee which is basically a biography of cancer. My other choice is a book by Simon Garfield called ‘What’s My Type?’, which is all about fonts and typefaces. A lot of my work in the past has been about marketing and communications and the big challenge for Cancer Research UK is how do you communicate science and that’s why I asked for that book.

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