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Drop-in centre launched for north Norfolk cancer patients and their families

PUBLISHED: 17:17 20 April 2017 | UPDATED: 17:31 20 April 2017

North Norfolk Cancer Support Drop-in Centre founders (from left): Jo Haywood, Judith Miller and Diane Evans. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

North Norfolk Cancer Support Drop-in Centre founders (from left): Jo Haywood, Judith Miller and Diane Evans. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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A drop-in group for people living with cancer has been launched at Sheringham, with a start-up grant from a local singing group and the backing of Macmillan Cancer Support.

The drop-in was the idea of Macmillan North Norfolk fundraising team members Diane Evans, Judith Miller and Jo Haywood, who, concerned about the limited support available to cancer sufferers and their families in the area, decided to take action.

Mrs Evans, who is a founder member of Sheringham women’s social and charity group Sisters in Spirit, which has raised upwards of £10,000, hoped the new group would bridge the gap between treatment and support.

“Talking to people, one of the things we heard over and over was that they couldn’t get a Macmillan nurse,” Mrs Evans explained. “But, realistically, with so many people affected that is an impossibility, so we felt there was a real need to offer something more visible in north Norfolk.

The drop-in, which will run once a month at St Peter’s Church Hall, has been funded for its first year by a £500 donation from the now defunct Cromer singing group the Castaways, with Macmillan promising to provide funding for year two.

Mrs Miller, who is a long-standing member of Sheringham-based support group After Breast Cancer (ABC), said that experiencing cancer herself made her appreciate the importance of having support close to home.

“When you are having to go to Norwich for treatment every day, the last thing you want to do is stay to go to a support group afterwards,” she said. “And I think that having to travel such a long way can end up being so difficult that you end up sitting indoors feeling depressed instead of going out and talking to people.”

The group, which is being run by Mrs Evans, Mrs Haywood and Mrs Miller with the help of a team of volunteers, aims to offer information and friendship to anyone with experience of cancer, whether they are patients, former patients, friends, family or work colleagues.

If it proves successful, the trio hope to launch similar groups at North Walsham, Holt and Cromer.

Mrs Miller said: “Everybody is different and even if they don’t want to talk, they can come and sit, have a coffee or play scrabble.”

North Norfolk Cancer Support Drop-in Centre runs on the first Wednesday of the month at St Peter’s Church Hall, Sheringham.

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