THE Pickering Cancer Drop in Centre is urging people to help them be awarded a substantial grant from the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF).

The Tunbridge Wells charity has been named as one of just 300 nationwide that will receive a grant from the Freemasons who are celebrating their 300th anniversary by giving away £3million.

Each of the chosen charities will be awarded funds although the amount will be decided by a public vote online. Amounts range from £4,000 to £25,000.

Pickering’s Co-Founder Polly Taylor said: “Just to be chosen is a major coup for a small local charity like ours – to win £25,000 would make a huge difference to our work. Please remember that every single vote counts.”

Each year Pickering, which is run entirely by volunteers, helps more than 3,000 people whose lives have been touched by cancer and it is all free of charge.

It has 37 therapists trained to give a range of complementary therapies such as massage, reflexology, reiki and acupuncture.

Among the guests at the launch of voting was 12-year-old Molly Walford and her mother Julia, from Tunbridge Wells.

Molly’s father Doug passed away last month. She used to attend the centre with him over the last six months of his life.

Julia said: “Doug came in and talked to the people at Pickering, and he found out more about the disease, which helped him to understand what was happening.

“He also had some of the treatments, like massages, which helped to lift his mood because he was very depressed.”

She added: “Polly’s fantastic, she spoke to the hospital because they weren’t giving  him the information he wanted, and she also wrote to Molly’s school.”

Pickering attracts people from across the south east and all the major London Hospitals send referrals although people can simply drop in.

Polly said the charity regards its work with families, friends and carers to be vital ‘otherwise there’s nothing out there for them’.

To vote visit mcf.org.uk/vote and select the West Kent Province page. The poll is open from Monday (June 12) to July 31.