Lord Lieutenant helps Hartlepool's Pansies breast cancer group celebrate 20 years of support
A Hartlepool cancer support group welcomed a special guest with royal links as it celebrated 20 years and looked forward to many more.
Pansies Breast Cancer Support Group was joined by Lord Lieutenant Sue Snowdon – the Queen’s official representative for the area – for an anniversary afternoon tea at the Grand Hotel yesterday.
The group was started by Isobel Wilson in 1999 after undergoing treatment for the disease and felt there was a need for the group.
Every week, they meet to offer friendship, love and laughter for women who are battling or have beaten the disease.
Over the years they have raised thousands of pounds for charities and financial support for members and their families.
They also help women to access mastectomy wear, wigs and other prostheses.
Mrs Wilson said: “When I finished my treatment I felt we needed something, so I started Pansies.
“We have raised quite a lot of money over the years. We have done fashion shows, calendars; you name it we’ve done it.
“We’re all very good friends and we work as a team.
“It’s been a phenomenal journey, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.
“Today is just a celebration of being here for 20 years and still going strong.”
Mrs Snowdon said she was humbled at the work of groups like Pansies, named after the favourite flower of a friend of Mrs Wilson’s daughter who succumbed to breast cancer aged just 32.
The Lord Lieutenant said: “When you are diagnosed with cancer it’s the most horrible feeling.
“To have the support that your group has given for 20 years, you found exactly the right antidote to that and it’s friendship.
“I’m so pleased that I could come and join you today because this is very special.
“May it keep on going.”
The occasion was also celebrated by the Ceremonial Mayor of Hartlepool Councillor Brenda Loynes who is raising money for Pansies as one of her chosen charities.
She said: “Having suffered breast cancer four and a half years ago I know exactly what it’s like.
“Enjoy this afternoon.”
Pansies meets every Monday at the Grand Hotel, Swainson Street, Hartlepool, from 10am till noon.