From Calcutta to Keighley: Colourful autobiography raises £2,000 for Yorkshire Cancer Research

07 November 2019

A community leader from Keighley has raised more than £2,000 for Yorkshire Cancer Research by giving away copies of his colourful autobiography in return for donations.

Charlie Bhowmick MBE, a well-known local character, decided to support the charity following his experience with bowel cancer. While recovering from surgery, he began documenting his life story.  

The 81-year-old arrived in Keighley from the Indian city of Calcutta (now known as Kolkata) as a fresh-faced teenager in 1954. He had made the journey to study mechanical engineering at Keighley College. 

Charlie went on to serve an apprenticeship with George Hattersley & Sons before becoming the first Asian to work in local government where he was a planning officer at Keighley Town Hall.

Yorkshire Cancer Research Keighley Committee members Carole Fay and Val Broughton with fundraiser Charlie Bhowmick.

He became known for his community and charity work, and in 2005 was awarded an MBE for his services to race and inter-faith relations.

Charlie has now given away every copy of his autobiography, titled ‘From Calcutta to Keighley’, but the book is available to borrow from Keighley Library. 

Charlie said: “Having been a long-standing cancer patient and undergoing major surgery for bowel cancer, I felt glad to be alive. I wanted to see what I could do for people with the same illness as me. 

“I am humbled and very grateful to people for their support and understanding. Everybody has someone in their family who has cancer. I hope the money raised will contribute to research that will help save future generations.”

Val Broughton, treasurer of Yorkshire Cancer Research’s Keighley Committee, said: “Charlie is so well known and respected in Keighley. It must have been incredibly daunting to come over here as a young man, but he quickly became an integral part of the community and he’s led such an interesting life. 

“It’s a fantastic achievement to write a book and we are thrilled for him and for Yorkshire Cancer Research that he managed to raise so much. We’d like to express our thanks to him for choosing our charity and to everybody who gave donations.”

Yorkshire Cancer Research funds work across the region to help prevent cancer and improve the likelihood of survival. For more information, please visit



About Yorkshire Cancer Research

•    Yorkshire Cancer Research was founded in 1925 and is the largest independent regional cancer charity in England (Registered Charity 516898). We are not part of a national charity. 
•    Current statistics show that 594 people are diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire every week. 
•    Our mission is for 2,000 more people to survive cancer every year in Yorkshire. 
•    There are lots of cancer problems across the region that need to be tackled on a local level. We work in partnership with researchers, clinicians, the NHS, public health bodies and other charities to fund innovative work in four key areas: prevention, early diagnosis, treatment and clinical trials. 
•    For more information, please visit or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.


Nikki Brady, Senior PR Officer, Yorkshire Cancer Research. Tel: 01423 877228. Email:


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