Drop-in aims to support people in Windermere and Bowness

on Friday, 09 February 2018. Tags bowness, cancer, Cancer Support, CancerCare, drop-in group, Kendal, lake district, Lancaster, North Lancashire, Slynedales, South Lakeland, windermere

New faces always welcome at weekly drop-in session

A special ‘drop-in’ service in Windermere has been a lifeline for a retired council worker.

Bruce Evans, who also served in the Royal Navy for nine years, said CancerCare’s Windermere Drop-in had helped him to cope with cancer and had given him the opportunity to make new friends.

Bruce lives in Windermere and used to work for South Lakeland District Council as a depot manager.

He said: “As I am a single person, it gets me out of the house and we have a laugh.

“A lot of people have someone to talk to at home whereas I don’t.

“I have also found out about CancerCare’s services through coming here and I have been having counselling at the Lakes Centre in Kendal.

“Sometimes I come to the drop-in and cancer is never mentioned. We just talk about walks in the Lake District and things like that.

“I would encourage people to come here. You don’t have to stay for the whole time – just come and have a brew and a chat. It’s very relaxing.”

The Windermere Drop-in covers Bowness and Windermere and is based in the Windermere Room at the Ladyholme Centre on Lake Road.

It is for people who have cancer or are recovering from the disease as well as carers, friends and family. The drop-in service has been running since April 2017 and new faces are always welcome.

Bruce, who volunteers with the Leonard Cheshire charity at Holehird and with the North West Air Ambulance, said CancerCare helped him during his darkest times.

He said: “When I was first diagnosed I was very tearful.

“I had counselling and 20 weeks later I was laughing and having a joke with my counsellor.”

Bruce had blood tests for type 2 diabetes which led to further tests and he was finally diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.

“It had spread to other parts of my body,” he explained. “I’m now classed as disabled and I am on specialist treatment at the Clatterbridge Hospital in Liverpool.

“I’m glad that I have the drop-in because I know there will be someone to talk to about what I’m going through.”

Pam Parsons from Windermere, who used to run a guest house in Ambleside and is now retired, is one of the coordinators of the Windermere Drop-in.

For the last 17 years Pam has also been a volunteer at CancerCare’s popular Ambleside Drop-in.

Pam said: “People can come to the drop-in and talk about anything; we keep it light and friendly.

“I have had friends with cancer and it has been in the family. My mum was an identical twin and her twin had ovarian cancer.

“I did briefly go to see CancerCare when my dad, Sid Spooner, died of cancer 24 years ago.

“My sister in law, Freda Spooner, was one of the founder members of a drop-in which was set up many years ago in Windermere with Professor Malcolm McIllmurray (a leading oncologist and one of the founders of CancerCare). It was a thriving group and it met at the Carver Church.

“That group doesn’t exist anymore so I decided to start up a new Windermere Drop-in.

“I would like to encourage more people to come to the drop-in. People can just pop in or give us a call.”

Pam added that she would like to thank the Ladyholme Centre for all the support given to the drop-in.

Joan Newby from Ambleside, who has been one of the organisers of CancerCare’s Ambleside Drop-in for 26 years, also supports the Windermere Drop-in.

Joan said: “We have such a good laugh and we enjoy each other’s company. It’s just for people to come and have some support.

“People think we sit and talk about cancer all the time but we don’t. It’s very friendly and relaxed.

“If anyone wants to talk about their problems quietly there is space to do that too.

“I have personally benefited from CancerCare and I come here snow, wind and rain!

“I would really love to see the Windermere Drop-in grow and welcome more people.

“I just love CancerCare – I would do anything for it.”

Joan, who is 95-years-old, added that members of the Ambleside Drop-in had raised in excess of £136,000 for CancerCare over the last 26 years.

The Windermere Drop-in is open from 10.30am to noon every Wednesday in the Windermere Room at the Ladyholme Centre on Lake Road, Bowness-on-Windermere.

CancerCare also offers free therapeutic services for people affected by cancer and other potentially life-limiting conditions. Counselling, therapeutic massage and other therapies are available at the Lakes Centre on Blackhall Road in Kendal. This year the charity is marking its 20th year at the Lakes Centre.

CancerCare was originally set up in Lancaster and has been helping people affected by cancer across South Cumbria and North Lancashire for 35 years.

For more information on CancerCare in South Lakeland please go to www.cancercare.org.uk or call the Lakes Centre on 01539 735 800.