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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.

Kevin, wife Josie and HANCC Trustee Debora Howe

Kevin, wife Josie, Daughter Trudi and son Shane

The Runners!

Kevin Cheetham ‘The Geordie Run’

On Sunday 2 June one of our great supporters Kevin Cheetham along with his wife, Joanne, children Trudi and Shane and members of his running club, Tyne Bridge Harriers, organised the Geordie Run, raising funds for HANCC.

Kevin was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer – a rare type of cancer which affects the part of the throat connecting the back of the nose to the mouth. Kevin was told he’d defeated the disease – but sadly very recently doctors told him that the cancer had returned and more invasive than before. This meant that he was not able to take part in the Great North Run which he had planned to do for HANCC. However, undefeated he and the running club organised the Geordie Run.

We are delighted to report that hundreds of people gathered on Sunday to see the runners set off from the East End Swimming Pool in Byker.

Kevin said: “It was fantastic. It was a brilliant turn out. The charity does great work, and all the money raised will be used locally.”

“The treatment I have received from our National Health Service has been first class, and I cannot praise highly enough its staff at the Freeman Hospital for the care I received,” he said.

“The love and support which I have received from my family and friends has been both huge and humbling.”

The event raised more than £9,000 – thank you, everyone. We at HANCC want to raise our hats to Kevin, his family, the Tyne Bridge Harriers, all those who took part and those turned out to support the runners – THANK YOU.

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

John Myers in conversation with Fiona Armstrong

A huge thank you goes to John Myers, Fiona Armstrong and Karen Jones of the University of Cumbria.

John Myers is an Honorary Fellow of the University, in 2018 he battled and won the fight with cancer of the tongue. John took part in a very special event “John Myers in conversation with Fiona Armstrong’ in association with the Royal Television Society North East & Borders, where he spoke about his 35-year career in the media and to raise awareness (and funds) for the Northern Head and Neck Cancer Charity.

The event took place in the Stanwix Theatre, in February and was hosted by award-winning broadcaster and writer, Fiona Armstrong, the evening looked back at John Myers’ extensive career in the media.

Like many, he has experienced the highs and lows of life. Recently, he battled and won the fight with Cancer and one that threatened to destroy his voice that made his career. He spoke about how it was found and the treatment he endured. This was an event with humour and passion and as a much loved, storyteller.

Thank you, John and all who were involved in this event. John can be seen presenting a cheque for £1,000.00 to Debora Howe – HANCC Trustee.

It is with great sadness that we have to inform you that John Myers died suddenly on Saturday 1 June 2019. We at HANCC would like to send our condolences to Team Myers.

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.

The Great North Run 2019

All the HANCC allocated places have now been filled for the 2019 Great North Run.

Also the application ballot has now closed for 2019. Should you have a place and you wish to run for us we would be delighted for you to join us. Or if you would like to be considered for one of our places for the 2020 event please let us know.

At either: or

Conditions apply.


HANCC’s 6th annual conference gets off to a sparkling start.

On Tuesday 6 November HANCC held its 6th conference at St James Park, Newcastle. The aim of the conference is to bring together key health related partners to address the common concern of Head and Neck cancer in the northern region.

The key messages of this year’s conference was to explain the latest developments in local head and neck cancer research, appreciate the impact of oral cancer from the patients perspective and understand the Junior Doctors viewpoint in managing patients treatment.

Speaking first was Dr Joanne Patterson, Speech & Language Therapist from the Sunderland Royal Hospital who spoke about the latest developments in the ‘LiteFORM’ research program – a low level laser treatment in the management of radiation mucositis in head and neck cancer. LiteFORM is ongoing research with promising results currently being trailed in 10 sites across England and is expected to last for 2-3 yrs. At present there is not a national standard protocol for treating Oral Mucositis; the trails may help to establish this

This was followed by a truly inspiration presentation by Jay Aston of the Eurovision winning group Bucks Fizz. Jay outlined her journey from detection of the disease, treatment and recovery. Jay is hoping to be back on stage on 10 November, only 5 months after her last operation.

Our next speaker was Mr David Hamilton OMS Consultant, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle NHS Foundation Trust who outlined the latest research into Human Papillomava Virus and the decision making process of the Multi-Disciplinary team.

Helen Cocks, Consultant in Otolaryngolgy, Sunderland Royal Hospital & her patient Robert Henderson then spoke about Roberts’s treatment and recovery from the medical and personal point of view. Roberts smile and positivity was a tonic to all in the room.

Living with and Beyond Cancer, was presented by Kelly Craggs, Cancer Improvement Manager, City Hospitals Sunderland & South Tyneside Foundation Trusts. Covering the National Cancer Strategy and how it is being implemented to support head and neck cancer patients locally.

Our final speaker was Jenna Trainor, Restorative Dental Consultant, Dental Hospital
Newcastle. Who spoke about the importance of oral health in Head & Neck Cancer.

Year on year the number of attendees has increased and this year event was no exception with an audience made up of Dentists, dental nurses, pharmacists, nurses (including Macmillan nurses from The Freeman in Newcastle; The Royal in Sunderland and Sir James Cook Hospitals Teesside) and invited ex patients who spoke about there experiences.

Huge thanks goes to all our speakers and attendees we hope to see you again next year.

Full details of the medical presenter’s notes can be obtained by contacting:


Mouth Cancer Action Month Launch event by Oral Health Foundation
House of Commons London Dining Room A 23rd October 2018

Debora Howe, HANCC Trustee attended the event on behalf of the Charity. The Press & Parliamentary reception was officially opened by Sir Paul Beresford MP with Dr Nigel Carter OBE highlighting the importance of Mouth Cancer Action Month. The open forum was an opportunity for invitees to meet others with an interest in mouth cancer and associated conditions.

Debora discussed with Anna Wojnilko, British Dental Association, Public Affairs Advisor and representative for Scotland, free dental check-ups in Scotland. For some years Scotland have provide free dental check-ups for adults (not available in England) as well as children (available in England). It is understood that there is a proposal to limit free dental check-ups to once in every two years. Anna and colleagues consider this to be unacceptable as it would reduce the opportunity to detect early signs of head & neck cancers. There is to be a Head & Neck Cancer event held at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on 16th November as part of their effort to challenge the limitation of free dental check-ups for adults.

Amanda Oakley, Director of Educational Resources from the Oral Health Foundation, introduced Debora, to Paul Roebuck, a tongue cancer survivor. Paul now provides mental health support to H&C patents and helps them to focus on their future. Paul is based in Yorkshire.

The conversation was joined by Dr Chet Trivedy; a dentist who specialised in oral surgery and currently Consultant in Emergency Medicine. Chet is very passionate about oral cancer action and would like to champion free dental treatment for all H&C patients who have completed their treatment.

Currently all discharged H&C patients are expected to continue with routine dental care like any other member of the adult population. This is a concern as this group of people will have additional mouth care problems resulting directly from their treatment; dry mouth, gum health and impact from radiation therapy. Chet has been trying to champion this cause for some time and feels a patient centred approach might be more effective.

The suggestion would be to invite patients tell their story, what dental treatment they have undergone and the cost this has required. This would then become part of a ‘petition’ to the Government for equity and equality in patient care after completing treatment from a cancer diagnosis. In all other forms of cancer, patients are provided free of charge items needed to maintain dignity in continuing their daily lives. People who have other forms of cancer are not expected to pay for the resources/items needed to continue with their lives, why then should a person who have completed treatment for a H&N cancer then have to pay for additional dental care directly resulting from their treatment.

A video of the Press and Parliamentary Launch for Novembers Mouth Cancer Action Month will be available soon on their website

Well done Paul.

Congratulations to Paul Coulson (far right) for completing the Cardiff half marathon on Sunday 7 October and raising a fantastic amount for HANCC – well done Paul.

Great North Run 2018

This year’s Great North Run saw ten competitors raising funds for HANCC; we salute you.

The Great North Run is a half marathon from Newcastle to South Shields. The organisers invite 57,000 runners from 130 different countries to run through Newcastle and Gateshead with the roar of a friendly Geordie crowd to spur the runners on under the wings of the red arrows. This was the 36th year.

Thank you and congratulations to all of those who made such an excellent effort for HANCC.

Kay and Odeth

Kay Kirkup, a physiotherapist technical instructor at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, was diagnosed with Head and Next Cancer soon after completing her treatment for breast cancer in 2016.

Kay’s work colleague and friend Odeth Richardson was also diagnosed with breast cancer at about the same time as Kay, and they supported each other throughout their treatment journey which had a positive outcome. Following successful treatment, Kay decided to hold a fundraising event for HANCC to help raise awareness of this still little know disease.

Held at Cramlington Workingmen’s Social club, Park View on 1st September 2018, Kay’s family and many friends filled the venue to support the HANCC Charity fundraising event.

The band ‘9th Avenue’ entertained the crowd playing a great selection of Mowtown and Soul, which they live stream to their facebook page. ( A HANCC Trustee joined the evening and was delighted to be presented with some amazing donations from M.J & T Davison Property Services, Newcastle Building Society and Bay Plastics Northern Football Alliance League. More donations are expected and Kay’s Charity evening is very likely to over £3,000.00 for HANCC.

A special HANCC thank you to Kay, her wonderful family and friends. Hopefully, others who have a diagnosis of Head & Neck cancer will be able to come through their treatment and still have a lovely smile.

Hadrian Cycleway Centurions – more bike challenges for HANCC supporters

On Friday 27 July John Howlett, Graham Ivison, Redford Crawford and Keith Oliver took part in their own cycle challenge, riding the Hadrian Cycleway, raising funds for HANCC.

The magnificent four cycled over 100 miles in a day, thus becoming ‘Centurions on the Hadrian Cycleway’ (they thought this sounded better than ‘Cycle To Haltwhistle and Back’).

The riders set off from the start of the Hadrian Cycleway in Newcastle on Friday morning travelling west on ‘Sustrans route 72’, cycling for 50 miles or so which found them close to Haltwhistle. After a quick pit stop, they turned around and cycled back again.

Unlike our 25 riders who took part in the Saturday event ‘Team Centurion’ had far better weather and managed to ride to Haltwhistle and back in glorious sunshine, covering 120 miles in the process and had a (mostly) enjoyable day (we have been advised that there was a certain amount of pain on some of the bigger hills). Thanks, guys it is greatly appreciated.

Battling the elements for HANCC

Saturday 28th July saw the 2nd Northern HANCC Annual Bike ride across 100miles of stunning scenery from Coldstream in the Scottish Borders to North Shields, Newcastle. 25 courageous riders battled a very strong headwind throughout most of their ride, which started off under cloudy skies with a smattering of rain to blustery, blue skies and a beautiful view of the North Sea from Amble down to the finish line.

The riders were a mixture of returning supporters from last year’s event, plus some new intrepid participants, including Sarah Branfoot, Diagnostic Radiographer at the Freeman Hospital, who only took up cycling 12 weeks before the event. She deserves a huge pat on the back for even trying to ride 100 miles after such a short amount of training. Sarah was supported by WATbike, who again coordinated the ride for us. A special thanks go to David Alderson who was on hand on the day and Claire Blake who we liaised with to organise our event.

We would like to express our thanks to all that joined in and fought against a thigh burning head wind, raising funds for HANCC, which will enable us to help spread the word about Head and Neck Cancer throughout the North East and to help support individuals in need.

Watch the website for details of our next event and to sign up for next year’s ride.

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.