Downpatrick Ash Musician Backs Cancer Focus NI

ASH strings bracelets for Cancer Focus NI.

ASH bassist Mark Hamilton has raised a fantastic £1,200 for Cancer Focus Northern Ireland in its 50th year by selling 50 customised bass string bracelets, mementos from the band’s concerts.

The Downpatrick musician chose Cancer Focus NI because his mum Miriam is battling breast cancer for a third time. The charity aims to raise £100k to fund pioneering local breast cancer research at Queen’s University Belfast from a whole raft of fundraising events.

ASH bassist Mark Hamilton has help raise £1200 for Cancer Focus NI. Included is Cancer Focus NI Community Fundraiser Joanne Smith.

“Huge thanks to anyone who bought one of the first guitar angles. We raised £1,200 with the first 50 we sold and plan to do something special with the next bunch,” he said.

Mark added: “Making the bracelets is kind of a team effort. The strings are authentic, played at ASH shows. I change them every day on tour and keep them as they’re used.

“Previously the strings were tossed away, and would have ended up in landfill. It’s good to know they can now have a purpose beyond the stage.”

Mark weaves the strings into a bracelet and his dad Neil solders them together.

Mark’s mum Miriam, from Downpatrick, is one of the founder members of the Cancer Focus NI support group and has been a member for nearly 30 years, supporting other women who’ve been diagnosed with cancer.

 “Mark has been saving his guitar strings and the band did a big tour last summer. He told me he was going to make the bracelets and said he would donate the proceeds to whatever I wanted. I chose Cancer Focus NI,” she said.

“The charity has given me fantastic support over the years and I have made many friends who were going through tough times. Cancer Focus NI is also raising £100k for breast cancer research at Queen’s University to mark its 50th birthday. It’s only because of vital research like this that survival rates are so good nowadays. I share the charity’s vision to see a day when cancer is no longer a life-threatening disease.”

If you would like to help raise money for research, why not sign up for the Cancer Focus NI Cheers to 50 Years campaign and ask for donations instead of gifts on your birthday this year – visit:

Anyone with any concerns about cancer can call the charity’s free information and support NurseLine on 0800 783 3339.