Tray after tray of tablet raises £85,000 for breast cancer research

Mix 9,500kg of sugar, 3,772kg of condensed milk, 4,750 litres of milk and 4,750 teaspoons of vanilla essence, cook for 17 years, and raise £85,000 for breast cancer research.

That is the recipe for success that Fiona Edwards has been using since 2003 when she first began selling her homemade tablet to help support researchers at the University of Dundee. In 2019, Fiona generated another £9,500, bringing the total she has raised to more than £85,000.

Fiona estimates that she has baked almost 10,000 trays of tablet since she began her fundraising efforts, meaning that somewhere around 175,000 individual squares – more than one each for every man, woman and child in the city of Dundee – have been sold in that time.

“I have pretty much always got a batch of tablet on the go and I need to keep a stock of ingredients in my house at all times – I’ve got something like 50 cans of condensed milk in my cupboard at the moment,” said Fiona.

“Once again I would like to thank everyone who supports me by buying my tablet or by giving me a spare pound or two for my efforts. They have made this possible and their continued support means we have been able to give to breast cancer research year after year.

“One of the problems I am finding is that people, especially the younger generation, are increasingly less likely to carry cash so I’ll have to find a way round that. The majority of the money is raised by me trekking round all youth football matches on a Sunday and the teams are always very supportive.”

It was through this route that Fiona came into contact with a representative of Dundee food wholesaler Brakes. Impressed by Fiona’s commitment, the company donated a large amount of ingredients which has meant her tablet has been even more profitable than usual over the past year. She has also received a gift voucher from Tesco’s Customer Service Centre in Baird Avenue to allow her to buy ingredients.

Fiona’s exploits also help a second worthy cause as her sweet goods are also sold through Balhungie Farm Shop. Part of the farm shop profits go to helping children in Africa and Fiona’s tablet alone has provided 28,000 malnourished children with a meal via the charity ABC Africa.

All of this meant Fiona was made the inaugural Citizen of the Year by Monifieth and District Rotary Club in 2019, and she chose to add her £100 prize money towards this year’s final tally.

The money Fiona raises supports pioneering breast cancer research in the University’s School of Medicine. The latest tranche of funding will be used to support the development of a prognostic index for breast cancer which can be used to help decide which patients should be given chemotherapy prior to surgery.

Andrew Evans, Professor of Breast Imaging in the School of Medicine and Honorary Consultant Radiologist with NHS Tayside, said, “ Fiona’s fund raising is absolutely vital to our breast cancer research and we thank her for yet another year of hard work on our behalf. We simply could not do the work we do without the money Fiona raises for us.”