A Nelson builder who successfully fought cancer has been named as a “community champion” by a leading charity.
Geoff Whittaker, of Barkerhouse Road, was taking part in a collection at Asda in Colne, when he was surprised by the iflorist and Rosemere Foundation teams.
iflorist, based in Accrington Road, Burnley, provided gifts for Geoff, including a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of red wine, after he was named one of Rosemere’s ‘Community Champions’ in the build up to Volunteers Week, which starts on Sunday.
Geoff, who was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2010, was sent to the Rosemere Cancer Centre after his diagnosis and the charity supported him through two weeks in intensive care, three weeks of radiotherapy and a 13-hour operation, during which he had his voice box removed.
Since beating the disease, Geoff, who uses a tracheostomy tube to aid his speaking, now fills his time by volunteering for Rosemere at various events, collections and using his building skills to make items such as wheelbarrows, bird boxes, bed boxes and window boxes, donating all of the money from the sales to Rosemere.
Recalling his battle with cancer, Geoff said: “It was an extremely tough time for myself and my family.
“I owned my own building company and was a plasterer by trade, but after I fell ill, I had to retire from my profession and give up my business.
“I wanted to keep my chin up and get on with life. I have never been someone who can sit around and do nothing, so I knew that after my recovery, I needed to busy myself.”
Geoff has raised more than £1,500 for the charity alone, as well as helping out with collections and events which have raised much more.
His wife Jannette and daughters Sarah and Amanda are also supporters of the charity.
Geoff said: “I absolutely love volunteering for Rosemere. It means I can make use of my skills, spend my days doing things that I enjoy and give back to a fantastic cause.”
If you are interested in volunteering for Rosemere, contact 01772 522913.