A DUNTOCHER cancer survivor who was given just 12 hours to live has been on the fundraising trail again, raising thousands of pounds for the specialist unit that saved his life.

Billy Dempster, 64, has been a dedicated supporter and fundraiser of the Beatson Cancer Centre in recent years after surviving a diagnosis of Hodgkins lymphoma, including organising a regular Beatson Walk event, making an 18-mile journey from Billy’s workplace at the Coulport naval base to Alexandria, with motorists and passers-by often showing support along the way.

However, with his desire to continue to support the unit and medical staff that saved his life still burning strong, Billy has been working on more events to attract yet more donations for the cause.

This year’s events included a football raffle on the day of an Old Firm game and also a “bake and donate” day, where bakers, cooks or even just hungry workers were able to purchase items and donate to the Beatson along the way.

As a result of his efforts, Billy was able to present a donation of £5,200 to Beatson staff for equipment and essential items to allow other patients at the unit to increase their chances of survival.

And Billy is encouraging others to get involved with their own efforts.

He said: “We didn’t want to be putting buckets under people’s noses every week, so we wanted to focus on one big event and then run a few smaller, easier to participate through the year to keep raising money.

“The other events are things that other companies could copy, it just needs someone to take the reins and organise it. The bake-off is a very good idea because so many people want to bake and those working in offices come in and buy it through the day.”

In early 2011, Billy’s family believed he was on his death bed – but he fought back against the cancer and told the Post that the incident acted as a “wake-up call”.

Since then, he has helped to raise more than £35,000 for the centre in the following years.

He says that he will continue to show his support for the unit as an act of gratitude for his care and says that his regular visits to the Beatson often act as a boost to the centre’s staff.

“The Beatson saved my life and so I’m always trying to help and repay them.

“I always get a great reaction when I ring the bell because they know I’m bringing something that will help them. Also, for the doctors and nurses, it’s great to get a cuddle from an ex-patient that has survived and is alive today due to their labours and hard work.”