Cancer centre dream will be a reality

Mechelle Harris, left, and Becky Fletcher, who are starting up The Hummingbird Centre for cancer support in Bicester

Mechelle Harris, left, and Becky Fletcher, who are starting up The Hummingbird Centre for cancer support in Bicester Buy this photo

First published in News by

TWO women’s vision of a place where cancer patients and their families can be supported in Bicester is set to become a reality.

Mechelle Harris and Rebecca Fletcher met by chance in a shop and found they had a shared dream.

Now after six-months of hard work, they will launch The Hummingbird Centre, a therapy and day support centre for cancer patients, on March 28, and host an open day from 10am to 6pm.

It will be the first time cancer patients will be able to get this type of support under one roof in Bicester.

The pair are in the process of getting charity status and will initially open for two days a week on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Therapists and volunteers have been trained to treat people with cancer and will give their time to create a “huge support mechanism” for patients and their families.

Complementary therapist Mrs Fletcher, 35, who runs her own business and works at Sobell House Hospice, said: “We realised we had the same passion and decided between us we could do something.

“We are not taking a salary, this is our time and money to support this, to get it off the ground and make it a success.”

Mother-of-two Mrs Fletcher, who lives in Upper Heyford, near Bicester, said: “There’s nowhere for patients to go to get out of the house. We want people to have a treatment and to stay and get to know other people going through the same frightening time they are going through.”

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On offer will be advice about benefits, medical treatment, art and craft sessions, complementary therapies such as massage and hand and foot care, and bereavement counselling.

For Mrs Harris, of Bicester, opening the centre has been a long-held ambition after watching her father Ray Hurcombe, from Leicestershire, die from the disease aged 62, in 2008.

She said: “The dream has been there for many years, but in the last six months it has started to take off.

“It’s something we are finding is long overdue in Bicester, at the moment people have to go to Banbury and Oxford.”

The women have had to “beg, borrow and steal” equipment to kit out a unit at Grange Mews, in Launton, and still need items including chairs and a therapy couch.

They will need to raise £1,000 a month just to keep it open and plan to stage fund raising events throughout the year.

Stepmother-of-four Mrs Harris, 47, who has completed a Macmillan Cancer Support course, said: “Once word gets out there and people see what we are doing, we hope that will generate support.”

Dionne Arrowsmith, of Arncott, who suffered from head and neck cancer, welcomed the move.

She said: “I think it’s a brilliant idea.

“If I could have gone to Bicester and talked to other people that are going through it, building up a network, that would have been a good thing.”

Anyone who can help or for information call 01869 244244.

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