Bosom Friends announce big plans

Bosom Friends trustees Sally Lambert, Mary Brennan, Gus Brennan and Catherine Oldfield.
Bosom Friends trustees Sally Lambert, Mary Brennan, Gus Brennan and Catherine Oldfield.

A Barnoldswick-based charity has announced grand plans to expand in a presentation on its long term vision.

Members of the Bosom Friends support group gave a talk to Barnoldswick and Earby Rotarians at a meeting in September which looked at the charity’s history, its present situation and its future vision.

Grand plans for the future include the construction of a brand new building known as the Mary Brennan Support Centre which could house a team of specialist staff as well as a shop, meeting rooms, therapy rooms and a cafe.

Charity trustees are currently exploring different sources of funding to help with the cost of such a development.

Since being founded in 2000 after Mary Brennan’s recovery from cancer, the group has moved on to extend its services to emotional support via telephone, face-to-face and group meetings and home and hospital visits and transport.

Fund-raising is done through events, donations, occasional grants and the shop in Ellis Street in Barnoldswick.

The group has raised over £250,000 in 13 years.

Earlier this year, the Bosom Friends underwent a rebranding, dropping the Barnoldswick and Earby part from the charity’s old name to acknowledge the group’s support to people in Pendle, Craven and Ribble Valley areas.

Trustee Catherine Oldfield believes a centre would be ideal, as services and advice could be given outside the hospital environment.

She said: “Mary was diagnosed in 1993. The treatment was fantastic but when she came out of hospital she felt isolated and she vowed that when she was better she wanted to set up a support group.

“At that stage the group was purely for breast cancer.

“But it became apparent there was a lack of support in a larger radius.

“The ethos changed to support anybody with cancer too. I think the key message is that we are not just a charity for people with breast cancer and not just in Barnoldswick and Earby.

“This area is short of resources we can tap in to. In Yorkshire, there are some things taking place at Airedale Hospital and on the Lancashire side there is Pendleside Hospice. But those services are for people with terminal or incurable diagnosis.

“A support centre would be absolutely fantastic. The nearest one is Daisy House in Bradford, set up by Bradford and Airedale Cancer Support. In Stockport, local residents have totally bought into the idea of Beechwood, a support centre, which has a Macmillan information centre as well.”

Upcoming fund-raising events for the Bosom Friends include a firework display at the Punch Bowl, Earby, on November 2nd.

Tickets are £4 for adults, £2 for children over two and £10 for a family ticket (two adults, two children).

All funds from the night will go to the group after landlady Michelle Cooper heard the story of Craven’s Rebecca Lawrence, who is suffering with incurable cancer, and has received support from the Bosom Friends.