News & Comments

Award-winning Christmas tree

We are delighted to announce that HANCC is an award winner – We exhibited a Christmas Tree as part of the Christmas celebrations in St Andrews Church, Corbridge and have been presented with a gold award. Thank you Corbridge and Happy Christmas everyone.

Kevin, wife Josie and HANCC Trustee Debora Howe

Kevin, wife Josie, Daughter Trudi and son Shane

The Runners!

Kevin Cheetham ‘The Geordie Run’

It is with great sadness that we have been advised that the wonderful Kevin Cheetham passed away Wednesday 27th November, we send our condolences to his family.

‘The Road Less Travelled? Pathway to Diagnosis in Head & Neck Cancer’

On Thursday 21 November two of our Trustees attended a prize-winning lecture given by Jennifer Deane at the Herschel building part of Newcastle Upon Tyne University.

‘The Road Less Travelled? Pathway to Diagnosis in Head & Neck Cancer’

This study aimed to explore the patient’s experience of their route to a head and neck cancer diagnosis, using qualitative methods, as an important step to inform future work on reducing delays to treatment. Interviews with patients who had been diagnosed with head and neck cancer covered topics on; experiencing a health problem; engaging with the healthcare system; communication of a diagnosis and knowledge and understanding of cancer. The findings provided a deeper understanding of the experience of initially registering a potential symptom to the point of a diagnosis. Resulting in increased knowledge of the patients’ needs at different points during the route to diagnosis.

Jennifer discussed how the majority of head and neck cancer patients are diagnosed at stage 4 and the reasons why. Hopefully, we can work with her to dispel the blockers on diagnosis.

Emma Robinson, Alison Mace, Gwen Forster, Louisa Weldon and Cecil Watson

Route map

Event display

Newcastle Dental Hospital supporting Mouth Cancer Action month

Supporting Mouth Cancer Action month students and staff of Newcastle Dental Hospital raised funds for HANCC by cycling across Britain while not leaving the main entrance of the Dental Hospital! The University Medical & Dental School entrance was the location for an array of tempting homemade treats sold to raise funds for HANCC

The cycling event organised by Gwen Foster, student support office at Newcastle University Dental School. The Land’s End to John O’Groats an epic 1,407 km was achieved by cyclists in teams of 5 on static bikes borrowed from the Medical School Bio-mechanics department. The challenge began at 8am on Wednesday 13th November with 30minute slots for participants, some of whom had not ridden a bicycle since childhood. Achieving distances from as short as 4Km to over 100km, their destination was reached one hour head of schedule with an additional 50 km putting the cycling team in the Pentland Firth heading towards South Ronaldsea!

The Land’s End to John O’Groats cycling challenge raised and amazing £460 with some patients and visitors also contributing to their fund raising event. More funds are expected from their sale of homemade treats’

John Myers, Debora Howe – HANCC Trustee, and Laura Douglas – Head and Neck Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialist, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle

John Myers Memorial Service was held on Tuesday 12 November, at St Martins in the Field, London. It was attended by family and friends of Team Myers. HANCC was the nominated Charity for donations and we would like to thank all those who kindly contributed, it is greatly appreciated.

7th Annual Northern Head and Neck Cancer Conference

The 7th Annual Northern Head and Neck Cancer Conference was held on Wednesday 6th November 2019, in The Heroes Club, St James Park, we are delighted to report that it was very well attended with over 130 delegates. The aim of the conference was to bring together key health related partners to address the common concerns of Head & Neck Cancer in the Northern Region.

  • Explain late side effects following completion of cancer treatment some years ago
  • Appreciate the impact of late side effects from the patients’ perspective
  • Understand the dentists’ perspective in managing patients presenting with late side effects.

Yet again we welcomed our excellent speakers who brought a wide range of topics to the audience:

Andrew Bartram, SPR Oral and Maxillofacial City Hospitals Sunderland who spoke about Sentinel node biopsy and the new camera.

James Adams, Consultant Oral Maxilla Facial Surgeon, Freeman Hospital Newcastle NHS Foundation Trust, who detailed Osteoradionecrosis (ORN).

Shaun Riley, on behalf of Life Kitchen, who captivated the audience taking about Make the best of your eating/taste experience and the work done by his son Ryan Riley.

Laura-Jayne Watson, Speech and Language Therapy City Hospitals Sunderland and her patient; who discussed the Impact on Swallowing due to late side effects following head & neck cancer treatment.

Janet Guilbert and Ann Trollope Sunderland City Hospital patients telling their story ‘Our lived experience’.

Isobel Bowe and , Lead Specialist Dietitians Newcastle Nutrition Freeman Hospital ‘long term feeding problems’.

Thank you to all the presenters for giving their time so generously.


Awareness Campaign 2019

The aim of this year’s awareness campaign was to cover as much the Northern region as possible. We ran advertising on busses both the rear and sides, have you seen them? I so please take a photography (if it’s safe to do so) and post the image on our Facebook page.

We also had flags on the Quayside in Newcastle and outside St James Park which looked great for our conference on Wednesday.

The student dentist discuss the improvements in dentistry in the millennium

Tom Cavell and Alison Mace final year student dentist at Newcastle University dental school with Dr Nigel Carter Oral Health Foundation Chief Executive

Oral Health Foundation Mouth Cancer Action Month

HANCC Trustees Evelyn Weightman and Debora Howe along with final year dental students Alison Mace and Tom Cavell, of Newcastle University Dental School attended the Parliamentary launch of Oral Health Foundation Mouth Cancer Action Month, at the House of Commons on Tuesday 29 October.

The opening address at the launch event was given by Sir Paul Beresford MP and Dentist. The Oral Health Foundation Chief Executive Dr Nigel Cater OBE welcomed everyone and highlighted the achievements of the HPV lobbying and vaccination program for girls and boys success and the number of people being diagnosed

Philip Lewis, Ambassador for the Mouth Cancer Foundation and practicing Dentist concluded the presentations by highlighting the importance of regular mouth checks and increasing awareness of mouth cancer signs and symptoms.

There then followed an opportunity to network with invited guests. Tom and Alison, guests of HANCC were wonderful ambassadors for the Dental University and HANCC. They had conversations with Public Health England representative who are actively involved in reviewing Delivering Better Oral Health: an evidenced based tootlkit for prevention. Plus meeting former students of Newcastle University Dental School.

Alison Mace, Debora Howe (HANCC Trustee) and Tom Cavell

Sir Paul Beresford MP

Houses of Parliament


Great North Run 2019

Congratulations to everyone who took part in the 2019  Great North Run rising money for HANCC – a huge THANK YOU from all the team.

See the Gallery for more photos!

Life’s Kitchen

Congratulations to Life’s Kitchen, in conjunction with WCRF, their new cookery leaflet has been launched, produced (and tested) by Ryan Riley

Dawn Hunter (nurse practitioner and event organiser) Betty Hunter (Dawns Mam volunteering to be chief cake seller) Kath Falconer (nurse practitioner)

Helen Ward (nurse practitioner) & Betty Hunter

The Royal Sunderland Hospital coffee morning

On Thursday 27th June The Royal Sunderland Hospital Head and Neck Cancer team held a coffee morning with a cake sale raising over £800.00 for HANCC. The event was organised by a member of the team, Dawn Hunter, nurse practitioner, who was diagnosed with head and Neck Cancer. We are now delighted to hear that she has recently completed her treatment with a positive outcome.

Thank you to all those who donated and for those who made those amazing cakes!

Helen Ward & Betty Hunter

Helen Ward, Betty Hunter, Dawn Hunter & Lynne Palmer (PREP department manager)

Sunderland cake sale team with donation cheque

The big cheque presentation Dave, his daughter Lucy and HANCC Trustee Debora Howe

Dave and his daughter, Lucy Erskine in the Diner

Dance Envy with Harriet Airey, Dave centre

 A real family affair in Cullercoats

Hattie Airey, kicked off fundraising events for Dave Erskine after his recent illness and ongoing treatment by completing last year’s Great North run. Not satisfied with raising over £1,000.00 for HANCC David, his is daughter Lucy, Hattie, family & friends recently organised a ‘Grand Charity Night’ at Cullercoats Crescent Club.

The evening was compared by Eddie “The Foxx” McIntyre, with entertainment from The Prefab Five, the 441’s, Stu Luckley & Josie McDonough, 45 Spread Rhythm & Blues band, dance performances from Dance Envy, which included Hattie. The evening was topped off with fantastic catering from Dave’s very own Diner, who can be seen with Daughter Lucy.

At the end of the evening Dave’s Daughter stood beside her father and HANCC’s own Debora Howe holding high a cheque for a whopping £6,000.00.

HANCC would like to say a huge thank you to all those attended along with the great entertainers but most of all Dave and his family.

From Cumbrian Lakes to African Mountains for the Northern Head and Neck Cancer Charity

Laura Warner, ENT consultant at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle has successfully trekked to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the world’s tallest free-standing mountain in aid of the Northern Head and Neck Cancer Charity (HANCC).

Laura, who was appointed to the Freeman in August 2018, specialises in treating head and neck cancer. The North East is a black spot for head and neck cancer and the Freeman hospital has one of the busiest units in the country. Nearly 300 patients are diagnosed each year with head and neck cancer which includes cancer of the neck, the mouth, the throat and the voice box.

A diagnosis of head and neck cancer is particularly challenging for patients and their families to cope with and many patients suffer long-term physical and psychological consequences of the disease and treatment.

HANCC‘s aims are to make life better for those diagnosed and to heighten awareness of the disease, enabling faster detection and early stage treatment. Prompt detection can really make a difference and the disease can be treated successfully if caught early enough.

Laura, a resident of Newcastle, has always been a keen outdoor enthusiast but has never tackled anything of this magnitude before. She was part of a team that cycled 100 miles from Coldstream to Tynemouth in July 2018 to raise funds for HANCC, which gave her the inspiration to embark upon an even bigger challenge.

Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak. The gruelling climb was scheduled to take 8 days but Laura and her companions achieved it in 7 days which is a great achievement, the trek involved a strenuous hike, camping in sub-zero conditions at high altitude with a significant risk of altitude sickness, when Laura reached the summit I was -15 degrees.

Laura says: “I have always wanted to do something like this, so whilst this is a personal challenge, doing it to raise money for such a fantastic cause makes it so much more worthwhile. As a cancer surgeon I see the fantastic job that HANCC does for my patients going through treatment. They also play an important role in raising awareness of the symptoms of head and neck cancer which encourages people to seek medical help at an earlier stage which can dramatically improve outcomes. In addition to this, HANCC contributes money raised to procure vital equipment needed to treat our patients and to promote research to improve outcomes.”

Laura’s party included her husband Matthew and three friends, including Haltwhistle resident Angus Makepiece. They start the climb on the 25th of February 2019.

If you wish to support Laura by donating to HANCC please do so online at BT mydonate. The web address is

Newcastle University Dental School – Thank you.

A huge thanks go to everyone at Newcastle University Dental School, (DentSoc) for their sterling fundraising efforts for HANCC with particular thanks going to the DentSoc committee 2018/9 who organise numerous social events for dental students throughout the year.

Events included an auction in aid of HANCC which has become a regular tradition at DentSoc and involved many of the students and staff. The auction consists of students bidding for a variety of prizes donated by members of staff and is one of the highlights of the society’s year. Additionally, a raffle was held at their annual Ball raising over £200 this year.

In total DentSoc raised £1,990.00 – Thank you.

The photograph is of the DentSoc committee 2018/9, dressed to impress at their annual Ball last year. Andy Wortley, Adil Khan, Diarmuid Devlin, Reuben Bennett, Laura Wade, Lucy Hobbs, Sean Dunne, Nathan Miller, Julia Baldwin and Daniel Fittes.

Free mobile phones for Cancer Patients & Carers

Simpal will provide free calls/text/data and mobiles where appropriate, to those affected by cancer aiming to help minimise some of the isolation, loneliness and financial pressure that many people affected by cancer face. This service offers 6months of free calls and texts to help when spare money may be tight. It also is available for people around the patient, not only the patient.

This service is absolutely free and available wherever you are in the UK. Please get in touch if you or anyone you know may benefit from their work – there is an online application form to complete or someone can complete the application form over the telephone.

Tel: 0800 5677890.

You can also apply on someone else’s behalf, for example if you are a carer or health care professional.

A huge thanks to Chris Curtis, Chairman & World Patient Ambassador at the Swallows for sharing this with us.




The British Empire Medal rewards sustained local contribution, or innovative, high impact work of a relatively short duration, and Evelyn Weightman, founder of the north east-based Northern Head and Neck Cancer Fund (HANC) has been recognised for these achievements in this year’s Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours List.

Very proud parents Pam and Bob Clark with Evelyn.

When Evelyn received the letter informing her of the award it sent her into shock and delight. After getting over her initial amazement she said “It is a great honour to have received this award, which is entirely dedicated to the Fund. I would like to thank all those that have contributed to the Fund; those who have lent their incredible support in order to help with fund-raising, and all the volunteers who help us raise awareness of this disease.”

Congratulations Evelyn from all your friends and supports of HANC.


One of our first pins has been bought and worn with pride! Graeme Conlon a fellow Sage roof walker and River Tyne zipper, modelled the newly designed pins! Although it clashed with his Sunderland colours he still wore it with pride.



They have arrived the most dapper pins you could see!

If you would like one of our beautiful HANCC pins or would like to sell them
please contact us on:

Suggested donation £1.00

For any postal orders, postage and packaging will be charged at cost.