Cancer patients to get ‘sweet’ relief, thanks to n-ice gift from Wood End Co-op shoppers

Cancer patients will be able to get relief from the nasty taste left in the mouth by chemotherapy, thanks to the generosity of shoppers in Wood End.

Customers at the Co-op convenience store in the village donated the dividends earned on their purchases to raise £500 for Tamworth Wellbeing Cancer Support Centre.

The money will fund a much-needed freezer so that ice cream can be served up to people who call into the Stonydelph centre while undergoing treatment.

Fundraising co-ordinator Christine Harris said the grant from Tamworth Co-op’s Community Dividend Fund could not have come at a better time.

Wood End Co-op manager at presentation of Community Dividend Fund cheque with cheering representatives of Tamworth Wellbeing Cancer Support Centre

Pictured at the presentation of the Community Dividend Fund cheque outside Wood End Co-op are (left to right): Joe Hopkins, senior supervisor at the store, Margaret Eaton, a volunteer at Tamworth Wellbeing Cancer Support Centre, Susan Smith, who has been helped by the organisation, fundraising co-ordinator Christine Harris and Julie-ann Kester, the store manager. Joe is holding a thankyou card from the centre, with a Diamond Art heart picture made out of beads which was completed at the centre before lockdown.

“We’ve wanted a freezer for some time. When you have treatment for cancer, especially chemotherapy, it can leave a horrible taste in the mouth and ice cream really helps. Many drugs can also cause hot flushes and again icepacks or ice cream is recommended, so we are extremely grateful for this money.

“This year has been really difficult with all our fundraising events cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. We get no government help. We are solely funded through donations from wonderful people like the shoppers in Wood End and the Tamworth Co-op.”

Mrs Harris was working as a volunteer at the centre when she herself was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago.

She added: “It’s a sanctuary not just for those with cancer and other chronic illnesses, but for their families too. It was a real help to my husband when I was ill to be able to come in and get support from people who knew what he was going through.”

Some of the cash will be used to buy individual ‘Diamond Art’ kits for popular, stress-relieving ‘make and take’ craft sessions when the centre reopens after lockdown.

The charity, which has been running for 10 years, encourages a sense of wellbeing through diet, exercise, fun activities and complementary therapies in a relaxed environment.

Around 150 people with cancer and other conditions, such as MS and fibromyalgia, which causes widespread pain, use the facilities. It is run by a paid manager and around 50 volunteers who organise activities and chat with people in need of support. One local hairdresser offers her time to do head shaves for those undergoing chemo and another volunteer provides wig sittings.

Julie-ann Kester, manager of Wood End Co-op, said the money raised by customers could not have gone to a better local cause.

“It’s so heartening to hear that this donation will go towards helping to alleviate the nasty side effects of cancer treatment and drugs. Our shoppers chose to support the centre as part of the Community Dividend Fund scheme which hands out thousands of pounds each year to worthy organisations, including social clubs, schools and churches, in the Tamworth Co-op trading area.”

*Tamworth Wellbeing Cancer Support Centre is currently operating a dedicated telephone helpline on 07368265984. The centre can also be contacted on 01827 899590.