One dedicated man has received a special commendation for his outstanding contribution to fighting cancer.

Popular angler Mike Smith has been recognised for his endless hard work for Cancer Research UK, after coming up with the fundraising campaign, 'a bite out of cancer'.

The Penrith man was among 181 individuals and groups from across the UK recognised in the charity's annual Flame of Hope Awards, which shine a light on the remarkable efforts of fundraisers and volunteers from all walks of life.

Mike first became inspired to raise vital funds after losing his grandfather and his dad to cancer, who were both diagnosed with brain tumours.

With the help of his best friend, the 36-year-old decided to donate the weight of every fish they caught to Cancer Research UK in honour of his loved ones – and the support was overwhelming, with the fishing community following Mike's idea.

He now has a strong social media following all over the UK, and even fellow anglers in America and Canada are getting involved.

And after raising more than £13,000 for the cause, Mike was honoured to receive a special commendation in the Pioneer of the Year category.

"I didn’t expect the fundraising to take off so quickly, but I have high hopes for 2021 and the more followers on social media, then the more money comes in for the charity, which is just brilliant," he said.

“I’ve seen first-hand what cancer can do to someone and research is vital.

"Every time I go fishing it’s in memory of my dad."

“I’m thrilled to do my bit to help and honoured to receive the Flame of Hope award.”

He added that he hopes to see his fundraising total reach £25,000 next year.

Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “The Flame of Hope awards give us the opportunity to celebrate and say thank you to our enormously generous volunteers and supporters for their fantastic work.

“Covid-19 has slowed us down but we will never stop. We are determined to continue our research to create better treatments for tomorrow.

“Cancer Research UK has continued to work through world wars, recession and other periods of major disruption. We remain as focussed as ever on beating cancer and I want to thank everyone who has supported us through this time.”

She added: “Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work in to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives but that’s only possible thanks to the commitment of our supporters and volunteers, without whom it would not be possible to fund outstanding scientists, doctors and nurses.”

Throughout the last 40 years, survival has doubled in the UK, with 50% of people with cancer surviving the disease for at least 10 years.

Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to ensure that by 2034, three quarters of people survive for 10 years or more after a diagnosis.

Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the North West, said: “Every step we make towards beating cancer relies on every pound, every hour and every person.

“These awards are our way of honouring incredible people like Mike who give their time freely to raise money for research and promote greater awareness of the disease, and yet ask for nothing in return.

“It’s thanks to the support of the fundraising public and our amazing army of volunteers that we can continue to make a real difference and bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.”

To donate to Mike’s fundraising page, visit