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She was a strong, loving and very brave lady. Full of life. She was my friend and I miss her still, every day

PUBLISHED: 01:44 20 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:12 20 September 2018

'My Nan was Eileen Strutton, of Thetford. The photo is my favourite of when she was in her prime! How I’ll always remember her,' says Kate Filby. Picture: Kate Filby

'My Nan was Eileen Strutton, of Thetford. The photo is my favourite of when she was in her prime! How I’ll always remember her,' says Kate Filby. Picture: Kate Filby

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My Nan is my main inspiration for raising money, says Kate Filby, who’s one of hundreds of people ready for Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

Maxine Simpson's parents, Gordon and Sally, pictured nearly 40 years ago in Germany. Gordon was in the army: a physical training instructor.Picture: COURTESY MAXINE SIMPSONMaxine Simpson's parents, Gordon and Sally, pictured nearly 40 years ago in Germany. Gordon was in the army: a physical training instructor.Picture: COURTESY MAXINE SIMPSON

It’s nearly time to put the kettle on! For The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is about to swing into action.

It’s Macmillan Cancer Support’s biggest fundraising event to help people deal with the disease. The charity encourages folk across the UK to hold coffee mornings, with donations made to Macmillan. More than £27million was raised last year.

“One in two of us will face cancer, and the money you raise at your coffee morning will help us make sure no-one has to face it alone,” says the charity.

Most (but not all!) events are this year held on Friday, September 28. There are lots in our region. Steven Russell asks a few of the organisers what’s on, and why.

‘I miss her still, every day’

Why are you holding a coffee morning? Kate Filby: “I have lost family and friends to cancer, so it is an illness very close to my heart. The work that Macmillan does to support patients and families is something we all need to support and cherish, so they can continue the work they do. The smallest donation will go towards making a big difference in someone’s life.”

Held any before? “First time I have held a coffee morning. Have thought about it for the past few years but never got round to it. This year I was determined, after losing a dear friend and an uncle last year to cancer.

“My Nan is my main inspiration for raising money and for donating monthly to Cancer Research. She passed away after a long battle with cancer in 2003. She was a strong, loving and very brave lady, full of life, who loved to be at the centre of the family. She was my friend and I miss her still, every day.

'We (Yaxham) are very lucky to have two fantastic ladies, Kathryn and Joan, who sell raffle tickets for us. Last year they did so well, we had to go out and buy more raffle tickets!' Picture:Lizzie Oechsle'We (Yaxham) are very lucky to have two fantastic ladies, Kathryn and Joan, who sell raffle tickets for us. Last year they did so well, we had to go out and buy more raffle tickets!' Picture:Lizzie Oechsle

“My Nan was Eileen Strutton, of Thetford. The photo is my favourite of when she was in her prime! How I’ll always remember her.”

Kate Filby, East Harling

September 28, 10am to 1pm

Kate’s Cakes and Tea, 5 The Bailiwick, East Harling, near Norwich, NR16 2NF

Who baked the best cake?

Jane Gosling: “We’re a very busy and active village hall, and hold coffee mornings every Thursday, but we think it’s a great thing to do once a year to help raise money for such a fantastic cause.”

Regular thing for Macmillan? “We have done this for several years running. Last year we raised around £400.”

Bet you have a good story… “A favourite anecdote about one I’ve been to (not ours!) was two ladies having a very heated discussion over whose Victoria Sponge was the best!”

The kettle is always on at Great Eastern Model Railways! Picture: HELEN ARNOLDThe kettle is always on at Great Eastern Model Railways! Picture: HELEN ARNOLD

THURSDAY, September 27, 10.30am to 12noon

Lavenham Village Hall, Church Street, Lavenham, near Sudbury, CO10 9QT

‘A good friend of mine lost her battle in June’

Zoe Clarke: “I’ve always wanted to run the London Marathon and last year, sadly, a good friend of mine got cancer, and lost her battle in June. I applied to run for her next April, and wanted to help my fundraising by hosting a Big Coffee Morning – my first ever coffee morning. It would be great to have as many of you as possible turn up and help Macmillan raise lots of money for their vital work.”

September 28, 9.30am to 12.30pm

Cherry Tree pub, Dereham Road, Norwich, NR5 8TD

‘The nurses gave my auntie her time to grieve’

..

Alex Self, general manager, The Laydens Community Centre/Café: “We hold the event every year and always decorate as much as possible. We run the event for the day too, not just the morning. This also includes any tea and coffee revenue for that day.”

How many have you held? “This shall be our third event. At one point in life everyone is confronted with it – be it a family member or a friend of someone who has had cancer and needed support from such fantastic people. Macmillan is a well-known name in our community and people can’t do enough to help.”

Alex’s uncle Ivan was born in and lived in Ipswich, and was a taxi driver for the later part of his life.

“My uncle was a warrior with cancer. Over three years he battled as hard as he could, but he knew when the time was right to leave us, and leave us all proud of him and his memories.

“Without the Macmillan nurses my aunt wouldn’t have been able to cope with everything going on. The nurses gave my auntie her time to grieve while my uncle was slowly fighting a losing battle.”

September 28, 9am to 3pm

The Laydens Community Café, Langley Avenue, Felixstowe, IP11 2NA

‘Able to die at home in peace’

Roopal Dholakia: “This is my first coffee morning. My partner’s brother-in-law died of cancer and his wife was only able to give him respite at home with the help of Macmillan nurses. An elderly neighbour who didn’t have any relatives was able to die at home in peace with the help of district and Macmillan nurses.

“I don’t have the stomach to do the job of these nurses but I am going to give my best, and an opportunity for others to remember and help them.”

Roopal’s coffee morning has cuppas, cakes by Blake’s Bakes, games, and guaranteed raffle prizes for the first 40 guests.

September 28, 10.30am to 2pm

Winterton Village Hall, King Street, Winterton-on-Sea, near Great Yarmouth, NR29 4AT

‘I still remember the Macmillan nurse who visited us’

Maxine Simpson: “I run Red Lodge Chatty Café, which is a community café run by volunteers. It opens once a week on Tuesdays, 1pm to 4pm, with a designated Chatter & Natter table. The idea behind it is to help combat loneliness and people who feel isolated. They can come and enjoy a coffee and have a friendly chat.”

And Macmillan coffee mornings? “I had been to an event hosted by my local hairdressers and really wanted to do something to help such a worthwhile charity. The Chatty Café has given me the opportunity to finally host the coffee morning.

“I lost my father to cancer 26 years ago. He was only 49 years old and had bowel cancer. By the time his cancer was diagnosed there wasn’t any treatment available and he passed away four months after his diagnosis. I still remember the Macmillan nurse who visited my father and us.

“My mother was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma and passed away 10 years ago. She did have chemotherapy, but the treatment did not work and she decided she wanted to spend her remaining days at home. The Macmillan nurses helped this to happen: they were marvellous and my mother had a very peaceful end.

“Two years ago this July my elder brother Andrew died of bowel cancer. His experience was very different and difficult. I feel that all our resources are very stretched and any help we can give to anybody affected by this terrible disease – and their families who need so much support at this crucial time and afterwards – is so very much needed and appreciated.

“My overall impression of the Macmillan nurses is that they offer as much or as little help as you and your family want, and are non-judgemental and smooth over any gaps left by doctors/hospitals.”

TUESDAY, September 25, 1pm to 4pm

Red Lodge Sports Pavilion, Hundred Acre Way, Red Lodge, near Mildenhall, IP28 8FQ

‘Two friends have recently been diagnosed’

Christine Mason: “I am having my first coffee morning for the Macmillan charity at my house. We are having a cake stall, tombola and a white elephant stall. I have asked several friends and family members who will help.

“I was inspired to do this as two friends have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, and obviously the Macmillan nurses will be of enormous help.

“I used to have regular yearly coffee mornings for cancer research, which I have not done recently, due to family commitments, so after seeing the advert on TV I decided to once again try my hand at organising another.

“I have emailed several supermarkets, who’ve been very generous with items for the tombola, and our local Red Lion has also donated vouchers for meals, and is baking a large cake for us. The Cellar House has also donated a bottle of wine, even though they are having their own Coffee Morning.

“Fitzbillies in Cambridge are donating 27 of their famous Chelsea buns, as it was my husband’s father, Arthur Mason, and his brother who started Fitzbillies in 1921, making his name with the Chelseas, and the secret recipe was sold with the business and is still used today.”

September 28, 10am to 3pm

32 Norton Drive, Norwich, NR4 6JD

‘Ladies, look at your pooh and pee!’

It’s an event with a difference at Yaxham, near Dereham. There’s a headshave, for one thing. There’s also a copy of a picture on offer to the highest bidder… of a woman sitting on the loo, smoking and drinking. It’s by local artist Lizzie Oechsle, whose work has in the past been bought by sculptor Antony Gormley (Angel of the North). Explain, please!

Susan Martin, co-ordinator of the local Macmillan Coffee Morning, says of the picture being auctioned that “we are using it as a way of raising awareness of cancer. ‘Ladies, look at your pooh and pee, plus give up smoking!’”

Why are they involved? “Yaxham had been holding a Macmillan Coffee Morning for many years, with records going back to 2004. Understandably, those in charge had dwindled in number over the years. In 2017 a group of residents who had worked before on community events decided to give it a go. In 2016 £1,016 was raised; in 2017 £1,852 – an amount we are looking to better this year.”

Got an anecdote or story? “We are very lucky to have two fantastic ladies, Kathryn and Joan, who sell raffle tickets for us. Last year they did so well, we had to go out and buy more raffle tickets!

“This year we have Colin Firmin undertaking Brave the Shave live at the event at 11.30am. Colin’s family were supported during his grandparents’ cancer and end-of-life care.

“He was egged into it by his partner Daryl after he kept saying how Macmillan had changed the final days of his granddad’s life. I think he is about mid 50s and he tried to bottle out but she told him he didn’t have a choice! Lisa, who is doing the shave, has given a free haircut as a prize in the raffle!”

See https://bravetheshave.macmillan.org.uk/shavers/miss-bates

THURSDAY, September 27, 9.30am to 12.30pm

Yaxham Village Hall, Norwich Road, Yaxham, near Dereham, NR191RJ

‘The kettle is always on’

Anne Martin, Helen Arnold and Rob Hockey (sisters and brother): “We have held Macmillan coffee mornings at our Norwich (family-run model railway) shop for the last five years. We transform our model shop into a café for the event, adding tables, chairs and running a raffle and tombola too.

“We attract customers and passers-by into our shop for coffee, chat and delicious homemade cakes which a customer’s wife makes especially for the event.

“We have had many lovely memories. We are lucky enough to be able to sit with our customers and listen to their stories. Our coffee mornings have also been visited by local MPs Chloe Smith, Clive Lewis and radio celeb Wally Webb.

“We have listened to, laughed with and lost many good customers and family members over the years. We feel we are able to offer a safe space for people to pop in and forget their worries for a while, and to lose themselves in a light-hearted hobby. The kettle is always on at Great Eastern Model Railways – not just on Coffee Morning days!”

September 28, 9.30am to 2.30pm

Great Eastern Model Railways, 199 Plumstead Road, Norwich, NR1 4AB

See coffee.macmillan.org.uk for a list of all the Coffee Mornings taking place.

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