Bradbury House Open Day – August 2022

On 12th August this year HCCN held a very successful Open Day at our new “home” Bradbury House (BH), Mayfield Road, Huntingdon. We have been using this venue for most of 2022 and we wanted to welcome members of the community to visit, to see how it works, and to encourage as much support as possible.

Bradbury House Open Day All the usual users of BH attended, along with representatives of some local businesses, other charities concerned with cancer care, the Mayor of Huntingdon, David Landon Cole and the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Daryl Brown.

The Hunts Post sent their editor and photographer and we took loads of photos too!

The building was decked out in bunting for the occasion and the garden open to take advantage of the sun (NOT in short supply this year as this turned out to be another very hot summer day!)

Bradbury House Open DayJan Davis (chair of HCCN) kicked off proceedings by welcoming everyone, telling them about us and introducing guests. She then handed over to Graham Moore (husband of our late founder Susan Moore). He recounted how the charity had been founded and Susan’s dream of a permanent home for us which has now been realised – she would have been delighted! Graham then cut the ribbon and we all toasted BH officially “open” with a glass of bubbly.

Bradbury House Open DayAfter that, the Mayor presented volunteer awards to Janet and Ant Button, Chris Moulds, Jill Wiles and Lynn Reader, and said how pleased he was that BH had become our new venue.

Jan thanked Graham and the Mayor and invited everyone to enjoy the lunch of sandwiches, cakes and fruit which had been kindly sponsored by Darren Morton of Bee-line Transport. All had plenty of time to circulate and chat to the attendees, the HCCN nurses, our contractors and trustees.

Bradbury House Open DayA BIG thank you to all our volunteers including, on the day, Janet, Carol, Vanessa, Pat and Trudi, who kept everyone well supplied with tea, coffee and raffle tickets.

Bradbury House Open DayThe well-supported raffle had some great prizes, including a boat trip on the River Nene with a champagne tea, restaurant vouchers, Body Shop baskets and £50 in cash. This, together with the lunch sponsorship, meant that we more than covered the costs of the day. We were very happy that so many people were present to raise the public profile of HCCN in the Huntingdon area.

AUTUMN CONFERENCE 25th NOVEMBER 2022 AT BRADBURY HOUSE (NOT the racecourse this time!)

Please put the above date in your diaries!

We will have as lead speaker, the ever popular Professor Rob Thomas, HCCN Patron and fount of all knowledge concerning nutrition and cancer.

The rest of the programme will hopefully focus on nutrition and keeping as healthy as possible before during and after cancer treatment.

There will be some breakout groups and the usual conference yummy lunch. Tell your friends and watch out for booking details to be announced on the HCCN website.

Open Day Opening Remarks

Deputy Lieutenant, Mr Mayor, Ladies and Gentlemen – Good afternoon and welcome – thank you for being here with us today.

It’s our great pleasure to welcome you all to our Open Day here at Bradbury House – new friends and those who know us well.

I would like to say a particularly warm welcome to our special guests:

  • Deputy Lieutenant Mr Daryl Brown
  • Mr Mayor, Councillor David Landon Cole
  • and Mr Graham Moore, husband of our founder Susan Moore.

My name is Jan Davis and I’m one of the trustees of the Hunts Community Cancer Network charity.

As you probably know, HCCN the charity operates across Huntingdonshire, empowering people with a diagnosis of cancer to play an active role in managing their health and make the lifestyle changes needed – both during treatment and after, whether recovering from or living with cancer. We fund and deliver a range of activities, supporting adults with the physical and emotional aspects of coping with cancer.

We work alongside the HCCN community nursing team, now led by Andrea Cliff. We are delighted that the nurses have joined us here today. They provide a range of clinical and support activities to keep people with cancer out of hospital and living a full and meaningful life. Without doubt, the fantastic support the whole team provides makes a massive difference to peoples’ well-being and their ability to live with cancer. We hear many lovely stories of the positive impact the team makes on peoples’ lives, at the darkest of times.

We really hope you enjoy your time with us here today. Our aim is to offer you the opportunity to meet our volunteers, the nurses and the people who use our services. To find out what makes HCCN special. And to see for yourself what a difference we can achieve when we share time together. Doing things together helps the healing process: knowing you aren’t alone, that you are not the only one to feel the way you do.

It’s been the charity’s aspiration to have our own place for a number of years – which I still refer to as “Susan’s house”. To be able to rent Bradbury House every Friday enables us to test our ability and resilience to run a full programme of activities in our own space.

I will just say a few words about practicalities. You should have been asked to register when you arrived so that we know who is here in case of an emergency. If you are inside and the fire alarm sounds, please leave the building and gather at the top of the drive.

There is a garden to the rear of the building – please explore – we have regeneration plans in mind.

You will find three toilets inside – one of which has a slow closing door so beware! Lunch will be available in the meeting room.

Finally, we will be taking photographs throughout the afternoon and if you do not wish to be photographed, please make this known if you see a camera or phone pointed in your direction.

Every aspect of the support HCCN offers to people is provided through the charity, free of charge. Everyone involved in running the charity volunteers their time freely. To continue this work we need funds available to assist people – and ensure that those in need, receive the vital help and support they deserve.

I encourage you to take a look at our wonderful raffle prizes which have been generously donated – and of course to dig deep and buy raffle tickets.

We will start proceedings shortly with a few words from Graham Moore before he officially ‘opens’ our centre. We will then raise a toast – so please keep a drop in your glasses for that!

I will then invite Mr Mayor to present certificates of appreciation to four of our volunteers who were highly commended in the Hunts Forum Volunteer Awards of 2022. We would then like to offer you a light lunch before giving you the freedom to explore our centre – and of course buy some raffle tickets.

The wonderful thing about the Hunts Community Cancer Network is the resilience, imagination and sheer hard work put in by so many people. As chair of the charity, I am proud to recognise the tremendous work of everyone involved in organising this event for you.

  • Special thanks go to our volunteers, activity leaders and contractors who deliver our services and our activities across the week and across the region
  • Special thanks also go to the “Friday Crew” – the volunteers and contractors who make Friday’s such a special place to be here every week
  • Thank you to the most generous donors of our raffle prizes, including Darren Morton, Managing Director of Bee Line Transport and Distribution, who have also sponsored lunch today
  • We couldn’t have done it without Gill Monsell – our conference coordinator, who has worked tirelessly for many weeks to make today a success
  • Finally, thank you to your trustees: Gill, Sallie, Angela and our finance officer Trudi, for all your passion and energy to deliver on our charitable objectives.

Thank you for your attention.

I would now like to introduce Graham Moore who will tell us something about how all this started.

HCCN by Graham Moore

[Text of the speech given by Graham Moore at the HCCN Open Day, Bradbury House, Huntington on 12 August 2022.]

HCCN and HCCN the charity were created as the result of the inspiration, friendship and energy of two remarkable women, Gini Melesi and Susan Moore.

They met when Gini was helping Susan with her cancer treatment and Gini, typically, delivered the maximum effort in helping her, finding a treatment which extended Susan’s life by several years.

At that time Gini was developing the first ideas of HCCN, a way of taking cancer support into people’s homes. The concept was supported but funding was lacking, the total extent of the team at the very start being Gini ably assisted by Cheryl Goodwin.

As the team grew, the lack of resources became an acute problem and Susan floated the idea of starting a charity to help fund the HCCN nurses. What followed was a whole range of fund-raising initiatives ranging from clothes sales, raffles and fashion shows to a Duck race on the river Ouse. I still have the fond memory of Susan listing, sorting and numbering a thousand yellow plastic ducks in our front garden! Fundraising proved a great success and since then, so many people have helped raise money for the charity.

Once the team of nurses had secured better funding and equipment, Susan applied herself to what could be done for the people and families being helped by the HCCN nurses. Her top priority was to find a way for people with cancer to meet informally and be able to talk to each other, to be with people who really understood and shared their life experience of cancer. The first initiative was to have a weekly “drop in” at the Holiday Inn, Brampton  where people could meet, chat informally and talk to their nurses in a comfortable, non-medical setting. At the time Gini and Susan wondered if the idea would take off – it did and lasted for years.

The success of that initiative in getting members together was followed by the first annual conference, now an established event. Later by Annie Thantrey and Janet Button’s wonderful Ellington drop in; and Susan’s own last project, the Men’s club in Huntingdon.

Susan’s commitment to HCCN was boundless. She was constantly seeking new projects to help members live with, and live after, cancer. Courses for fitness, diet and cooking, circuit training, yoga, Tai Chi, colour courses, personal development and professional counselling, all were focussed on making members’ lives richer and better, striving for what Susan called a new normality.

At home she worked constantly developing and managing HCCN ……. well that’s how it seemed. She loved seeing membership numbers grow, her ultimate ambition being to create an HCCN hub, a welcoming place for people with cancer and their families.

Susan brought a special set of skills to HCCN. An accredited counsellor, she had a been a senior manager with BT ultimately specialising in senior personnel development. One of her earlier roles had been as a progress chaser in BT factories and THAT also proved useful! (As those who worked with her will no doubt remember). But most importantly she carried a personal experience of cancer — she understood just how it felt.

It was wonderful of course to see Susan’s work recognised with local and national awards but her unrealised ambition was to find that welcoming place that could be called a home for HCCN, where various activities could be delivered under one roof.

Unfortunately, as with so many things, Covid got in the way of that happening, BUT NOW it has been achieved, and wonderfully!

Susan would have been delighted to see you all here today, and to see the way HCCN continues to thrive. Her ambition has been delivered in the achievement we celebrate today.