Over a thousand metal detectors from as far away as USA, as well as Europe and the UK gathered in a field near Marlborough, Wiltshire for the annual Rodney Cook Memorial (RCM) Rally – a three-day charity weekend of metal detecting on 2-4 September.
The RCM Rally was initially set up in 2018 by Gary Cook, in memory of his dad, Rodney Cook who sadly passed away at the Royal United Hospitals Bath (RUH) after having cancer in 2017. Gary’s dedication and passion for supporting cancer services with this event means that all proceeds from the ticket sales, raffle and extras will go towards improving cancers services at the RUH.
RCM Rally founder Gary Cook said: “My dad and I were exceptionally close, we were best friends, played golf, cricket and football together when I was younger. He was even my best man at my wedding because I couldn’t think of anyone else!
After my dad passed, I felt compelled to try and help the people who helped me, my family and my dad because they were such amazing and kind people. It wasn’t just the people who had treated. It was the whole experience, Dad was looked after so well by RUH staff and the NHS is incredible.”
This fourth-year event has been a resounding success with many ancient rare finds, including a gold stater coin, a Roman Fibula, an Iron-age brooch, and an Elizabeth 1st silver hammered coin.
To date, over £80,000 has been raised and Gary says: “Since its inception, we’ve raised a staggering amount for cancer services at the RUH. I would like to thank everyone involved in the organisation and running of the event, everyone who has supported us, and those that attended, please accept our heartfelt gratitude. My goal is to get to one million pounds, and I don’t want to stop until I have done that. The rally has grown so much that we sold out in two days, and we’ve already secured land for next year’s event!”
Gill Ford, Partnerships Officer at RUHX said: “I’m still buzzing! It was amazing to see so many metal detectorists combing the Wiltshire countryside, and the whole event ran like a dream. The RUHX team thoroughly enjoyed attending and supporting the RCM Rally, and we want to say a huge thank you to Gary, the Rally team, and everyone who attended – you’ve really gone the extra mile in supporting our hospital.”
Professor Marc Beresford, Consultant Clinical Oncologist at RUH, who recorded a video message for the RCM Rally added: “Gary has done an amazing job setting up this event in memory of his father. We’re really committed at the RUH to research and national trials, and we want to give the best treatment to our patients. Having the new Dyson Cancer Centre with its innovative design, and patient focused approach will be a huge bonus. Thank you so much for helping us to improve cancer care for patients in and around Bath and beyond.”