MALMESBURY Abbey will turn purple next week as it joins landmarks around the country to mark World Pancreatic Cancer Day.

The 12th century building will be lit up with purple lights on Thursday, November 16 evening to raise awareness of the disease, which in recent years has claimed the lives of Alan Rickman and Steve Jobs.

Trafalgar Square will be among the other monuments around the world that will join in with the Purple Lights campaign, which aims to shine a light on what has become the UK’s fifth biggest cause of cancer-related deaths.

Previous landmarks to join the campaign have included Edinburgh Castle, Blackpool Tower and the Concorde at Brooklands Museum.

The survival rates for pancreatic cancer is less than seven per cent, a figure that has not improved in over 40 years.

Diana Crowe, church warden at Malmesbury Abbey, said: “Sadly, I have a personal connection to this disease as my own father died of pancreatic cancer.

“The fight against it suffers from a chronic lack of awareness and funding.

“Malmesbury Abbey is delighted to take part in the Purple Lights for pancreatic cancer campaign.

"We hope that by lighting up the Abbey in purple, we will help draw attention to a disease that many people still know very little about.”

Around 9,600 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the UK each year.

Nic Dakin, MP and chair of the all party parliamentary group on pancreatic cancer said, “Pancreatic cancer kills someone every hour and it has the lowest survival rates of the 22 most common cancers. 

“It is vital that we raise awareness of this cruel disease.

“Purple Lights for pancreatic cancer is an eye-catching and effective way of raising awareness.

“Please lend your support to this fantastic cause, it really will make a difference.”

For more information and to donate, go to pancreaticcancer.