Support group lands award from the Queen

John Holmes from The Swallows talks to Noxi from Funny Girls at Blackpool Business Expo previously
John Holmes from The Swallows talks to Noxi from Funny Girls at Blackpool Business Expo previously

The Swallows Head and Neck Support Group said it is ‘proud to announce’ it has been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest honour for voluntary groups.

The support group for those with head and neck cancer said the award is a tribute ‘to a great team of past and present volunteers, trustees and patrons who have given support to those affected in Blackpool, the Fylde and across the UK.’

Chairman Chris Curtis, who got the gong at the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace with his wife Sharon, said: “Winning the Queen’s Award is an honour and testament to all the hard work of our volunteers, trustees and patrons.

“I am delighted that their work has been recognised. Without them and the support of the local community, we would not have been able to achieve the success and raise awareness of this particular cancer.’’

The group was set up in 2010 and attained full charity status in 2012, and is run by patients, carers, family and friends, It offers a 24-hour helpline 365 days a year, and holds monthly patients and carers meetings and can refer to other services if needed.

Its charity shop was originally based in St Annes but moved to larger premises in Blackpool.

Over the past 18 months, the registered charity has been able to provide various equipment and support to local hospitals to assist in both treatment and diagnosis.

“The Swallows was able to provide £30,000 towards the purchase of a state-of-the-art ultrasound scanner for the ear, nose and throat (ENT) department at Blackpool Victoria Hospital,” a spokesman said. “This milestone is one of our major achievement of which we are all very proud.”

Head and neck cancers include cancers of the mouth and the throat, as well as some rarer cancers, charity Macmillan said.

“These include cancer of the sinuses – air spaces in the bones of the face – the salivary glands, or the nose or middle ear,” it added. The five-year survival rate for adults is around 28 per cent.