News & Comments

Northern Head and Neck Cancer Charity

After much consideration and a great deal of debate, the Trustees have decided close down the Northern Head and Neck Cancer Charity (HANCC). It is not a decision that we have taken lightly and we would like to thank everyone that has helped us along the way.

During the past 10 years, we have met some amazing and inspirational people who have made HANCC what it is. You have enabled us to help so many people, provide specialist equipment, essential financial support, training and research and spread awareness of how to detect the early signs of head and neck cancer and much, much more.

Thank you for being super brave jumping off the Baltic, walking the Sage roof, zipping over the Tyne, sky diving, and running marathons. Pushing yourselves to the limit with our 100-mile bike rides, climbing mountains, swimming lakes, arranging fundraisers and entertaining us. For baking delicious cakes, knitting bears, running raffles, designing our Christmas cards and for buying them. Not forgetting our very first fundraiser the sale of a 32 ft inflatable snowman!
For standing up in front of a room full of people and telling them your stories. To the health professionals who have given up your time to speak at our conferences and for always being there to give us advice.

And to Debora for being Debora.

Going forward any residual funds will be to The Head and Neck Cancer Charity & Oracle cancer Trust

Thank you from Evelyn, Beth and Paula.

HANCC radio campaign

Listen out for HANCC’s radio campaign running across the North East through October or click below to listen. Please feel to share.

Great North Run 2022

All at HANCC would like to say a huge thank you to all of our Great North
runners – we salute you – thank you for your amazing efforts.

Congratulations Jessica and thank you!

Great North Run trio

As published in the Keswick Reminder.

Team James

Thank you, Team James, for all being completely wonderful and congratulations for completing the GNR in your best times a great achievement.

Footbaths at the ready.

Thank you from the Trustees

James’ Story

I plan to do the Great North Run (along with Leahan, Wendy & Rhiannon) in September 2022. We have all done this before, so why is it interesting this time? Well, in my day job I am a scientist, and I think it is time for an experiment…..

A decade ago, I had tonsil cancer. This came as a blow as I felt young to be having this disease and the chemoradiotherapy knocked me for six. I had expert care at the Freeman Hospital and the treatment was a success (minus tonsil). From an illness perspective, everything went quiet…

In 2019 things became less quiet! I had been wondering why my ear was so itchy and to find that it was cancer was an unpleasant surprise and it wasn’t great to know that I needed to make acquaintance with cancer again. Mercifully, expert care in the Freeman Hospital saw me through, although in the process I lost an ear canal and some hearing.

Six months later, some difficulties with swallowing and a croaky voice turned out to be another cancer, this time in my oesophagus. I took advantage of more expert care at both the RVI and the Freeman Hospitals. These kind folk sorted things out by chucking away several offending bits of anatomy (oesophagus, pharynx & voice box) and rearranging my stomach and breathing systems. Time for a quiet life?

Nope, 6 months later saw a 4th cancer and a return to the expert care at the Freeman Hospital for the removal of more tumorous bits in the jaw and some expert reconstruction – moving bits of my leg to my neck to patch the hole: jigsaw James!

Now I breathe through my neck and my lungs share some space with my stomach. I use a gadget to help me speak and it is like trying to listen to a robot walking through a swarm of bees. But even though things are not working as well as before, most of my body still does work and I am alive. I am so grateful for the expert care within the Newcastle Hospitals that keep fixing me up and enabling me to keep going.

Back to the experiment – what can this reconstructed body actually do? Can it get itself from Newcastle to South Shields in less than 4 hours? We shall see, Leahan is coming too, to verify that it is a fair test. Wendy and Rhiannon will ensure that there are some real runners in the team.

We are running to raise funds for the NHANCC. This charity aims to improve life for people with head and neck cancer. One of the valuable services that they provide is purchasing new equipment for head and neck cancer patients. We can use an awful lot of equipment and some of it is quite expensive. The charity also supports events to screen for mouth cancer, raising awareness of this cancer and funding research. Their work enables faster detection and early-stage treatment and this really makes a difference.

Thanks for taking the time to visit our JustGiving page.

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

Not a lot to add other than go, Team James, we will be looking out for you as you pass us by on Sunday 11 September.

Quiz night at Riverside bar

A quiz night was held at The riverside bar in Keswick Conservative club on 9 September, which was the eve of the Great North. Organised by Trish Gale, Rachel Gale and Diane Cannon who went on to compete in the GNR the following day – well-done ladies.

The event was a great success raising £702.70 for HANCC. Quizmaster, and secondary school teacher Rachel Gale did a sterling job, Keswick Lions & Friends were the winners of the event.  Not only did the ladies organise the quiz but held a raffle and sold fantastic cup caps, which look delicious

Thank you ladies for all your hard work and amazing stamina!

Tyne Bridge Harriers raise funds for local charity in memory of former member.

Local running club, Tyne Bridge Harriers, raised over £1,000 for The Northern Head and Neck Cancer Charity in memory of former member, Kevin Cheetham, at their annual Bridges of the Tyne race.

The Bridges of the Tyne Road race, which takes place on Newcastle’s Quayside, has become a hugely popular event in the North East running calendar, with the 2022 event seeing more than 500 entrants. The club capitalised on the scale of the event by holding a cake sale and sold custom made t-shirts remembering former membership secretary Kevin Cheetham.

Club Chairman, Ian Pickett, said “It was a fantastic evening celebrating running in the North East whilst remembering Kevin who was a much valued and popular member of the club”.

The Northern Head and Neck Cancer Charity (HANCC) was founded in August 2013 by Corbridge resident, Evelyn Weightman. Its aims are to raises awareness of head and neck cancer, giving funding to improve patients’ lives, whilst supporting research and education in the field.

Evelyn said, “Tyne Bridge Harriers have raised a fantastic amount for the charity and we’re very grateful to them for their continued support.”

“HANCC recently provided over £12,000 of funding to the Freeman Hospital, this will enable them to complete an important project evaluating the effects of palliative radiotherapy on eating, drinking and nutrition. It is pleasing to know that with your wonderful support we’ll be able to continue funding research and raising awareness.”

The club made the donation at a special event, near the start of their race, with club members, Kevin’s family and HANCC in attendance.

Kevin’s son, Shane, said: “Our Dad was a proud member of Tyne Bridge Harriers and loved to wear the club’s black and white colours. We’re very grateful to all the people who donated to HANCC in his memory.”

Corbridge Christmas Tree Festival

It’s back for 2022 the Corbridge Christmas Tree Festival,  save the date in your diary Friday, December 2nd to Tuesday, December 6th 2022 inclusive at St Andrew’s Church, Market Place, Corbridge.

Our elves are busy planning an even better tree for 2022!

Brian’s Three peak Challenge success.

We want to send our congratulations to Brian Tumilty for completing the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge.  Not only did he complete the challenge we are told by his sister Claire Hutchinson that he ran it, which is an amazing achievement.  Thank you for raising a huge amount of money for HANCC.

After losing their much loved Mam the family wanted to do something in her memory,  Brian kicked things off with the Three Peaks the rest of the family will be taking part in this year’s Great North Run raising funds for HANCC.

Look out for updates on our websites about this incredible family’s achievements. Thank you to you all.

You can read all about their Mam’s story and add to the family’s fundraising page at

Risk Prediction in Parotidectomy

We are delighted to be supporting LAU Kin-Lun (Kenny) in his research ‘risk prediction in post-operative morbidity in parotidectomy’ and send our congratulations and best wishes, Kenny has been accepted to present his findings at the 75th North of England Otolaryngology Society Scientific Meeting. He will be presenting the completed project and his findings at the conference on the 21st March in Crewe, Cheshire.

Overview of the project

Risk Prediction for Post-Operative Morbidity in Parotidectomy Kin Lun Lau, Luke Ouma, Lou Whitehead, Aritra Mukherjee, Helen Cocks – Sunderland Royal Hospital, Population Health Sciences Institute Biostatistics Research Group, Newcastle University.

In their study, clinical researchers reviewed the post-operative complications in parotidectomy and its association with various patient, tumour and surgical factors. There were 379 cases of parotidectomy identified in the eight-year study period, to determine if certain risk factors are predictive of the respective post-operative morbidity observed. The in-depth analysis revealed the incidences and potential predictors of post-operative complications in parotidectomy. Their findings can be used in patient counselling and guiding treatment options to minimise post-operative complications.

Parotidectomy is the removal of part or all of the parotid gland, the largest salivary gland that lies in front of and below the ear. In most cancer tumour cases all of the parotid gland is not removed, just the lump with a good border of normal tissue around it.

For further information please visit:

Janice rang the bell

We have recently been given some wonderful news. Janice a patient at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle has completed her final round of treatment for head and neck cancer and rang the bell at the Freeman Hospital on Saturday 8th January 2022 to celebrate the occasion.

Thanks to the wonderful Freemen Head and Neck Cancer team and our best wishes from all at HANCC to Janice and her family.

Suzanne Brown (centre), husband Neil Brown, sons Nathan, Cameron and Kyle and grandson Noah

Charity Night in Amble

A huge thank you goes out to Suzanne Brown, her family and friends in Amble for their incredible fundraising efforts.

Despite having to postpone the Charity night twice due to ‘you know what’ restrictions, the event finally took place in October of this year at the Bede Street Club in Amble. It was a ticketed event with a raffle and domino cards.

Thank you everyone who took part this is a huge amount of money and we appreciate every penny raised.

Corbridge Christmas Tree Festival 2021

HANCC took part in this wonderful event at St Andrews Church, Corbridge.
This years tree was expertly created by our own amazing Paul Westwell,
better known for her management of our Great North runners, assisted by her
two elves, sorry Trustees Debora Howe and Evelyn Weightman. The display of
trees this year was spellbinding – well done to everyone who took part

All the trees can be seen on the following Facebook link:

Coffee Morning

Thank you to Ellen Walton along with her family and friends for organising a coffee morning in support of HANCC. It was a morning of coffee, cakes, raffles and gifts held at Haltwhistle Methodist church on Saturday 20 November.

Ellen was keen to raise awareness of the disease in her local community and raise funds for HANCC.

Research request

Laura-Jayne Watson is a Head and Neck Cancer Speech and Language Therapist working at Sunderland Royal Hospital. As well as seeing patients for communication and swallowing therapy, she is conducting research looking at the pathway after having a total laryngectomy (surgical removal of the voice box). Laura-Jayne is really interested in speaking to community healthcare professionals, specifically GP’s and District Nurses, about their experience of helping to look after people once they return home after their operation. She is looking to interview GP’s and District Nurses over the telephone at a time that is suitable for them. The interviews will last no more than 60 minutes.

If you are a GP or District Nurse who would be interested in taking part in this research or would like any further information about her research please contact Laura-Jane on the contact details below:


Telephone: 0191 569 9009

HANCC & Cheetham Family donation received on 10th September 2021 at Arthur’s Hill Clinic

HANCC & Cheetham Family donation

On Friday 10th September 2021 the Cheetham family, on behalf of their friends, donated an amazing £4,561.80 to the Northern Head and Neck Cancer Charity (HANCC). The donation was in memory of Joanne’s husband, Kevin Cheetham. 

Kevin, was keen runner and member of the Tyne Bridge Harriers, who planned his own Geordie Run, taking in some of his favorite sights in Newcastle, on 2 June 2019 after being told his rare type of head and neck cancer had returned and he would not be able to take part in the Great North Run.

Joanne, an ancillary nurse with Newcastle Hospitals NHS Intensive Care Unit, bravely cut off all of her hair and shaved her head to raise more funds for HANCC.  Joanne is pictured holding the cheque with her son Shane, daughter Trudi and her husband Jonny with their daughter Autumn.

We at HANCC want to raise our hats to the Cheetham Familyand their friends. THANK YOU.

Alison the HANCC Ted maker

We want to say a huge thank you to Alison Spenceley for her amazing fundraising efforts.

Alison is an incredibly inspirational lady. Initially undergoing treatment for cancer some 20 years ago, she developed tongue cancer 4 years ago and is currently continuing her treatment at the Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Alison knits wonderful Teddies (shown above) to raise money for HANCC.  She has been making these delightful bears wearing a top hat and scarf in HANCC colours since 2019 raising nearly £1,000.00.

All funds raised go to supporting patients in the Northern region with a diagnosis of head and neck cancer. Thank you very much don’t you just love the little bears they are worth their weight in gold!

If you would like more information about how you can get your hands one of our Super Ted’s please contact Debora Howe, HANCC Trustee. who will be able to help you.

Ultra Runners for HANCC

On 5 June Harry Tustin and Rory Houston, who are both ENT Registrars with a passion for treating patients with head and neck cancer and running took part in the Great North Ultra raising funds for HANCC. Thank you for thinking of us and congratulations on your great fundraising efforts.

Thank you from the Trustees

Hanna, Pamela and Mel holding the HANCC flag

Ladies in the Lake for HANCC on 12 June 2021

Congratulations to Hannah, Pam & Mel for their great achievement in completing the Great North Swim in Lake Windermere and a huge thanks for their fundraising efforts.

Unfortunately, COVID guidelines meant supports were not allowed anywhere near Lake Windermere, which was disappointing. This also meant the courageous swimmers did not have the support of their relatives or friends. Undeterred the trio spent a restful night in Ambleside before taking the Ferry across Windermere to Brockhole the National Park Visitors Centre, which was the starting point for their challenge.

We appreciate your support

GO Rebecca!

Congratulations Rebecca for your amazing achievement and wonderful fundraising efforts. Thank you from the HANCC team.

HANCC Awareness campaign

In response to a request by the wonderful Macmillan nursing teams HANCC launched an awareness campaign running across the north east region from Carlisle to Sunderland, Hexham to Teesside and everywhere in between. The message was clear, medical professions are there to see you safely if you have any concerns.

If you are experiencing any unusual mouth or neck symptoms that have lasted for three weeks or more, don’t delay visiting your doctor, dentist or speaking to your pharmacist.

Seeking medical advice can be worrying, but early treatment can make a huge difference. The medical teams in hospitals and doctors surgeries have dedicated teams who can see you in safe environments.

Have you been suffering from one of these for more than three weeks?

  • Non-healing mouth ulcers and /or red or white patches in the mouth
  • Pain in the throat
  • Persistent hoarseness
  • Painful or difficulty swallowing
  • Lumps in the neck
  • A change in your tongue

These can be early warning signs of more serious mouth conditions, please don’t ignore them but get help as soon as possible, medical professionals are there for you.

If you have a dental practice you regularly visit:

  • Telephone them. They may have a telephone message, or your call will be answered.
  • You will be told how you can get treatment if you need it urgently or given advice about your mouth health concerns.

If you don’t have a dental practice:

  • Telephone the NHS 111 service
  • You will be given the best help for your mouth health concern.

A member of the dental team may ring you back if there is an urgent need for you to attend for treatment.

Press advertisements appeared in the Newcastle Chronicle, Sunderland Echo, Northumberland Gazette, The Cumberland News and Hexham Courant along with their associated website. Radio stations playing our commercial included Heart, CFM (for Carlisle and the Cambrian region) Smooth and Capital.

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.