Jessica’s Sarcoma Awareness, which was started by a teenager as she fought cancer, has been chosen by customers of Sainsbury’s in Cramlington as its charity of the year.

More than 2,000 people voted in store and online for the charity which was on a short-list of three.

Nearly £2,000 has already been raised through the store even though campaigning was only officially launched at the weekend.

“The vote was overwhelming,” said Kristina McRobb-Fielding, Sainsbury’s charity ambassador. “Jessica’s charity is close to home and everybody wants to get involved because all of us probably know somebody who has had cancer.”

Jessica Robson was only 18 and still a student at Cramlington Learning village when she died three years ago after a brave battle against Sarcoma Cancer. She had set up her charity to help other teenagers and children affected by cancer.

Her parents Trevor and Julie and sister Nicole have continued her work, helping to raise more than £160,000. Half of the money has been donated to other charities – the Teenage Cancer Trust and Sarcoma UK – whilst Jessica’s Sarcoma Awareness has carried on helping young patients and their families.  The charity plans, for example, to build lodges in the Northumberland countryside offering free respite stays.

“We are so grateful to the staff and customers at Sainsbury’s,” said Julie Robson. “They have really taken Jessica’s charity to heart and that means so much to us.”

Jessica’s Sarcoma Awareness was chosen as the Cramlington store’s charity of the year two years ago, raising £20,000.

“We’ve set ourselves a tough target, but we know how generous people here are,” said Jackie Green of customer services.  “As well as individuals supporting the charity we are hoping to get local businesses to help as well.”

Collection buckets are already at each of the store’s check outs. Fund-raising activities properly kick off with a launch weekend starting on Friday 4 August.  There will be a raffle, tombola and book sale; music provided by the Cramlington Caribbean Crew steel band, and information and advice about cancer.

Numerous other events are planned over the coming weeks, including a sponsored walk on 24 September.

“Jess would have been a bit embarrassed by all the attention on her, but very proud as well – and that’s how we feel when we think about the efforts so many people have made to support her charity which is making a difference to people’s lives,” said Julie.

There is further information about fund-raising for Jessica’s Sarcoma Awareness at Sainsbury’s in Cramlington or you can get in touch with Kristina McRobb-Fielding at the store via PRL.cramlington@sainsburys.co.uk