The C Word

The C Word was shown on TV for the first time this week. For some this was was too tricky to watch, too upsetting and too close to home. For many  though, this was an opportunity to see how a life living with cancer really is.

Our very own Alison Gordon read the book and watched the TV programme. Ali has also experienced cancer first hand.  The C Word story shares several similarities with the coming together of the complete strangers of Annabel's Angels, or The class of 2012, as described so well by Ali below. Please take a few moments to read on: 

"I found Lisa Lynch’s book The C Word back when I was nearing the end of my active treatment for breast cancer. Her honesty, and outspokenness appealed to me. I loved her humour, and saw a lot of my own crazy coping strategies in her descriptions.

She became my idol, a champion, someone that had taken on ‘the b*llshit’ and beaten it. It gave me increased confidence that I could do the same. Someone that wasn't just surviving, someone who was living.

I was devastated to hear that she’d had a recurrence and died, it wobbled me to the core. I learnt of this in the first year after my own treatment ended, the time when everything seems so uncertain, perhaps the only certain thing is the recurrence of thoughts and fears that it will return. At the time when those closest to you feel relieved the worst is over and let out a sigh of relief. After the initial adrenaline surge, you emerge with wobbly legs, mistrusting your body, becoming hyper sensitive to every twinge, or pain and losing the ability to switch off worry and anxiety. However this all lies beneath the surface, as on the outside you (attempt) to appear composed, as your hair begins to grow, and the rounded steroid cheeks deflate and you aim to shake the Tamoxifen pounds.  Life beyond diagnosis can be difficult.

The C Word was brilliantly brought to life this weekend, and I imagine many people wept into their tissues as the story unfolded, and many sadly avoided watching as had been personally affected by a similar experience. I hope that many women felt prompted to check their breasts as a result, and sincerely hope that they continue to do so. The story highlights the importance of support, of friendships and humour. The touching scene of the three friends meeting up in Brighton for the day, although sadly never really happened, plays on the importance of sharing with others and how peer support is essential.

There are many complexities to being a younger woman with breast cancer, apart from the obvious fact we’re below the age for routine screening. There’s being the token youngster in a sea of older faces at oncology departments, and given the ‘head tilted’ look that you are too young to be here.  We all know cancer can affect you at any age, but why do we never see peers at the hospital when you are waiting? At times like this you need to meet people in a similar situation to yourself to really feel the support, to fit in. Groups like the Younger Breast Cancer Network are a blessing and have grown from strength to strength over the past 3 years. No subject is taboo, thankfully! 

Just like Lisa, I found comfort in blogging, posting my first blog just 2 days after my diagnosis. I reached out to Macmillan’s Community Forum for support, not really knowing what else to do, if I'm honest. I needed to find someone else who felt the same, a safe place to say what I really felt. There had to be someone else out there with a boob that was trying to kill them too wasn't there ? The anger, fears, frustration all the things you daren't say out loud could be unloaded. I typed away under my alias, I could be real, let all those emotions spill out over the keyboard.

I never really expected to find friends, but I did, and these friends were there throughout the night when family members lay sleeping beside you unaware of the terrors in your mind. Tales of side effects, sharing coping skills, exchanging (poor) humour, and reassurance. We filled the online forums and threads with our messages of support for one another. More details were swapped and shared in private messages. A support network of anonymous women around the world swapping stories and tips, part of the ‘club’ no one wants to join.  As our friendships evolved, our confidence did too and a group of us, the Class of 2012, swapped our exchanges from Macmillan to Facebook, where we became real, sharing images, videos, and positive posts of encouragement to one another. We weren't hiding behind our nicknames any more, we’d let other people into our real lives.

Annabel’s Angels was born out of this friendship; when Annabel died, we, the Mac mates, The Class of 2012, were devastated and transferred our support to Simon and Annabel’s family and to each other.  Our friendship became tighter, and we became closer. It’s been 3 years since the Class of 2012 formed, we've lost some friends along the way, some have developed secondary cancers and are undergoing treatment and some are busying themselves with life beyond diagnosis. I am incredibly proud of my Mac mates, they are the most incredible, tenacious, remarkable women ever and the gift of friendship we extended to each other has seen us through challenging times. My mother whilst undergoing treatment for Leukaemia always said, ‘It’s a great life if you don’t weaken.’ I wholeheartedly agree, and I’d add, life is nothing without friends."

The Laura Centre - supporting bereaved adults & children in Derby

A few of our Trustees visited The Laura Centre recently. Corin and Simon met with Elaine, the Chairperson of the Derby centre, and Jemma, the Community Fundraiser at their centre on Vernon Street.  

Opened by the bereavement charity COPE in 1991, The Laura Centre offers specialist bereavement counselling to parents whose child has died and to children or young people who have been bereaved of a parent or significant person.

The head office is based in Leicester. Elaine explained that all enquiries and referrals are handled there. The Laura Centre also has local centres operating in Derby and Coventry. All offer wide-ranging individual and group support as well as a variety of alternative therapies.

Two qualified counsellors split themselves across three days during the week in Derby - two days are spent counselling adults, and one day counselling children. On average, they support four customers per day. 

The centre has only opened up its doors to children since March 2015. There is already a waiting list as, unfortunately, bereavement counselling is very much in demand.

The centre would like to open up its doors more often, but a lack of funds prevents this from happening. It costs £150,000 per year to run the centre as it currently is, and Jemma, the community fundraiser, is often rushed off her feet identifying and securing new leads to bring more funds in. 

One way to promote the centre and bring funds in is to hold participative events in the community. Jemma is currently helping to organise the annual Colour Blast Dash run taking place at Darley Park in Derby on Sunday 10 May.  A 2.5k run and 5k run will be taking place during the morning. All runners will start wearing a white t-shirt.  During the run they will be peppered with brightly coloured paint by the Laura Centre team and members of the public. It's a great opportunity to do something a bit fun, a bit different and, just a little bit naughty.  And to raise some funds for the local centre.

Annabel's Angels will be entering a team for the Derby event. We will be raising funds to support both the Laura Centre and our own charity grant programme. Feel free to say hello on the day, pelt us with paint or, better still, sign up and join us. 

For more information about The Laura Centre click here

To sign up for the Colour Blast Dash click here



Sharing, connecting, running.

A note from Simon, Chair of Annabel's Angels

I've seen many people come and go since December 2012. I've seen friendly faces become even more friendlier. I've seen faces become distant, perhaps unsure about what to say or what to do. I've seen my own face in there too, equally unsure at times about what to do, say, interact, feel etc. 

I've been very vocal about how lucky I feel I've been with the support I've received along the way. Family and friends helped with listening ears, broad shoulders and culinary skills. And dog walks too.

A key part of my well-being has been my involvement in a widower's forum set up by my good friend Benjamin Brooks-Dutton. Ben and I got in touch with each other in January 2013. I wanted to talk to other widowers to see if what I was thinking, feeling and fearing was normal.  And so, the doors were opened for other widowers to join a small online group, a safe space whereby us chaps could talk openly and share our innermost thoughts and feelings about this new and unexpected stage of our lives. 

It's now March 2015 and the group has grown considerably. Some are parents, some aren't. Some live overseas, some are young, some not so young. It's an eclectic group. Several guys have gone on to give their time and energy in helping to improve the lives of others. This has been in the form of fund-raising, joining charity committees, sharing their skills in a practical way, sharing their experiences in print and online, and some, like me, have gone on to set up a charity where gaps might exist. 

Last weekend I ran the Lincoln 10k with three of those chaps - Paul Verrico, Andy King and Pete Wallroth.

Lincoln 10k 2015 AA vest.jpg


Paul set up Teamverrico following the loss of his wife Anna.  Team Verrico concentrates on Cancer Support, Research and Treatment Options and Education about all aspects of Triple Negative Breast Cancer.

Andy supports the St Barnabas Hospice Trust which provides specialist palliative and end of life care so that everyone can access and receive the support they need to live well and ease the process of dying. He does this with his children Alex and Harry through their charity Screw Cancer

Pete is the founder and CEO of Mummy's StarIt is the only UK charity with the aim of supporting pregnancy through cancer and beyond. The charity offers support to other women and families finding themselves in this situation by providing a single point for medical advice and guidance, a small grants programme to provide financial relief; and campaigning and advocacy. 


Running the Lincoln 10k with these chaps was such a privilege for me. I felt a real resonance with them, a strong connection and unity. And, of course, a 'never give up' outlook on life. It’s safe to say we’ve become very good friends.

Experiencing a tragic life event has shown me the value of creating those all important life opportunities for me and my boys, to push ourselves physically and mentally, and to seize the day. Things don't, and never will, always go according to plan of course, but that's the beauty of life, we just never know what will happen. Do we?

Seize the day, connect with those around you, forge new friendships. Live and love life.

Simon Hancox

23 March 2015

* I'd also like to say a huge thank you to those who sponsored me for this event, those who shared Facebook posts, those who tweeted and those who cheered us all on during the race itself. Thank you all so very much x





Evaluating, listening and supporting.

A key aim of ours is to reach more patients and families in Derby directly affected by cancer. We want to reach them and help them before their condition gets too tricky. We want to reach them before it's too late.

We can only do this by continually spreading the word about who we are and what we do.  We keep the paperwork down to an absolute minimum, and we give a grant decision as soon as we possibly can. We work closely with Macmillan Cancer Support, Treetops Hospice and the Royal Derby Hospital teams to ensure our name reaches far and wide. We're very grateful to these and more for pushing us out there, for suggesting Annabel's Angels to those who might need us. 

Being a very young charity, the need to capture the thoughts and opinions about our work from those we help is so important. This feedback helps us to see where we go wrong, and where we do right. And, of course, how we can improve. This feedback also helps others understand more about us. It gives the public an idea as to what items/services they can request from us. It paints a picture of family life and helps us all to fully understand the impact of our support. 

We're always so very grateful for the feedback we receive from those we support. With this in mind we wanted to take the opportunity of sharing some words from a family we supported in November 2014.

How easy/difficult was it to make contact with Annabel’s Angels? 1 to 5 (1 being very difficult, 5 being very easy).

5 Very Easy

How easy/difficult was it to complete the Grant application form? 1 to 5 (1 being very difficult, 5 being very easy).

5 Very Easy

Did we respond to your Grant request quickly enough?

Yes very quickly

Has the Grant made a difference to your life? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes, it took huge pressure off at Christmas

How can we improve our Grants Programme?

I don’t think you can improve. It is a fantastic charity.

Would you recommend Annabel’s Angels to others? If so, why? If not, why not?

Yes, nice simple process to help people that need it!

Please help us to reach more people. Please talk about us, share our social media posts, suggest us to those who might benefit. We can't ever take the cancer away unfortunately, but we can take away the burden of living with cancer, if only for a little while. 

To apply for a grant please see the Grants Programme section on the website.

The Bubble

The Bubble Inn is a pub/restaurant and hotel in Stenson, Derbyshire. The owner, Connie Eleftheriou, and his staff team have been supporting Annabel's Angels since early 2014. Our wristbands are available for sale on the bar, and our posters, pull up banners and logo can be found dotted around the place.

Saturday 29 November 2014 saw Connie and the team hold a charity raffle night with all proceeds going to Annabel's Angels. The night raised a total of £550, a fantastic amount. Our Chair, Simon, got up on stage and gave a quick history about the charity and thanked Connie for his continued support. It's clear to say they've become firm friends.

A huge thank you to Connie, his fantastic team and, of course, the customers of The Bubble Inn. We're looking forward at continuing our special relationship into 2015 and beyond


Annabel's Angels granted Status Social's Charity of the Year

Annabel's Angels are very pleased to announce that we have been granted charity of the year 2015 by Status Social - Derby's leading social media specialists.

The partnership involves us receiving sessions and support in putting together a social media strategy, high-level training in the relevant social networks and ongoing consultation.

Status Social 2014 Charity of the Year, Risley-based Treetops Hospice, witnessed a significant growth in brand awareness after putting their training into practice.

Annabel's Angels trustee and chair Simon said:

“My fellow trustees and I are thrilled at being chosen as Status Social’s Charity of the Year 2015. Social media has been a significant part of our early success but this has generally been on an ad hoc basis rather than being part of a planned strategy.

“I know we can achieve so much more and reach so many more people by working with the Status Social team. Exciting times indeed.”

Status Social director Mark Saxby said the story of Annabel’s Angels had touched the heart of staff.

“It was so difficult choosing the charity to support. We had entries from across the East Midlands from some wonderful organisations – we would have loved to have supported all of them.

“One of our criteria for our choice of our Charity of the Year is that there is a determination by the recipients to see results from social media – that’s at the heart of what we do at Status Social. The Annabel’s Angels team know they need support to make social media really work for them – and that’s where our guidance will come in.”

Alvo Boys race night

Alvo Boys football club chose to hold a charity race night on Saturday 22 November at The Coronation pub with all funds raised going towards Annabel's Angels grants programme. Our Chairperson Simon and fellow committee member Matt were on hand to take part in the fun on the night (they even took part in a few sneaky bets!) 

It was a fantastic night, full of fun, real community spirit and, of course, generosity in abundance as the amount taken and donated on the night hit a whopping £1000. A huge thank you to Ant, Julie and the Alvo Boys committee, managers, players and supporters for making this a truly magnificent event. A big thank you to the staff and customers at The Coronation pub too. 

A day at Treetops Hospice

A day at Treetops Hospice

Many of you will know that our Public Grants programme is available to people of all cancer types at any stage of their cancer journey. Newly diagnosed and long term diagnosed people can apply for a grant to help improve their quality of life and that of their family. This could be help with shopping bills, childcare assistance, complementary therapy and much more. We’re still a very young charity and as such it’s important for us to make ourselves heard, particularly with local cancer support services. So, we’ve been busy getting out and about recently visiting local health and social care services to raise our awareness.

Simon, our chair, spent a morning with members of the staff team over at Treetops Hospice in Risley. Treetops Hospice provides respite and palliative care for adults with illnesses such as cancer, motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis. It also provides help and support to their carers and families. The Risley facility has a Day Care Unit for the public and a Bereavement Service for adults and children.

The Treetops Hospice at Risley doesn’t have any beds. It is more of a day service whereby people living with a terminal illness usually come to the centre once a week for respite care, a change of scenery and an opportunity to take part in a range of activities and therapies ranging from arts/crafts, aromatherapy, reflexology and much more.

It sits in beautiful grounds; 12 acres of lush green fields and tall trees surround the centre. Large windows let the lush Derbyshire light in filling the centre with a natural warm glow.

Lizzie Banks and Alison Hembrow took their time showing me round the centre asking and answering questions as we went along. Lizzie told me about the Hospice at Home service:

“This service has been developed for patients who wish to be cared for at home wherever possible. Our team of qualified nurses and health care assistants offer support day or night. Overnight stays give carers the chance to have a good night’s sleep, while a few hours during the day gives carers a break to go shopping or have time for themselves.

The Hospice at Home team are all trained and experienced in caring for people who have palliative care needs. All our care is delivered in accordance with the District Nursing care plan, and we work closely with the patient’s Primary Health Care team.

Hospice at Home is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. A nurse visit will last between 3 and 9 hours depending on your needs. Our standard night shift is 10pm – 7am, giving carers the much needed rest to support their loved ones during the day.

Our nurses offer both nursing and emotional support to patients and their families. We give families the opportunity to be as involved as they wish in caring for their loved one, whilst recognising and promoting both privacy and dignity at this very difficult time.”



Simon and Alison in the new Bereavement facility – The Cheetham Centre for adults and children.



Alison went on to tell me about her role as Support and Information Nurse Specialist:

“When people are faced with a life limiting illness many things are thrown into turmoil and there are always questions. Our Support and Information service offers help in a variety of ways. People may just need a sounding board to make sure that they have understood what they have been told or they may need things clarifying as what they been told hasn’t quite sunk in yet or they’re a bit confused by it. People may just need to come and talk to someone over a cup of tea who has an understanding of what is happening to them so that they don’t feel so alone through what can be a difficult and challenging time.

I offer support and information in many areas including symptoms and treatments, finances and benefits and have many links with local support professionals and groups. ”


The centre truly is an amazing place. The hospice’s £3 million a year running costs is predominantly self-funded, with some services supported by health contracts. As you’d expect, the fundraising team is a very busy team always on the lookout for new ideas to help bring more donations in. Volunteers play a key role in community fundraising, businesses too. Short-term activities and challenges help people to feel like they’re doing their bit to support the centre. There is also the opportunity to support Treetops on a longer term basis by either offering your time (as a regular fundraiser, admin roles, counselling support and more), a regular monthly donation or leaving a gift in your will

I came away feeling at peace, humbled and inspired to build on this meeting. At its core is a highly dedicated staff and volunteer team, all committed to supplying the highest level of care, dignity and support for patients, carers and families.

Services are free for everyone, they’re not means tested at all.

I’m really looking forward to working with Treetops to promote and facilitate our Annabel’s Angels grants programme. The Annabel’s Angels team will continue to support the work of Treetops and look for new ways of working together in partnership to support more local people living with cancer to improve their quality of life.  


Simon Hancox



For more information about Treetops Hospice visit

For more information about Annabel’s Angels visit






Important Information on New Intestacy Rules

As some of you will know, VL lawyers and Annabel’s Angels are working in partnership, both busy planning for some exciting joint developments to take place in 2015.

We can’t say too much at this moment in time but it will be highly beneficial for the charity and for local people in the Derby area affected by cancer.

Angela McGuckin, a solicitor at VL Lawyers, has written a highly informative piece about some recent changes to probate law.

This is important information relevant for everyone. It came into force 1 October 2014.

New Intestacy Rules

It is said that up to 75% of people die without a Will, leaving their Estate to be divided in accordance with rules laid down by the Government.

The effect of this being that many people die with their estate being shared out to people that they would not wish to benefit. Solicitors and our peers have campaigned for a change in the Intestacy Rules in order that they reflect modern society and modern families, to ensure that the “correct” people inherit following the death of a loved one.

As a solicitor it does seem a foreign principle that we would campaign for a change that may mean that even less people draft Wills. However one of the greatest “modernisations” of probate law took place on 1st October 2014. The new Intestacy Rules were introduced under Inheritance and Trustees Powers Act 2014. 

For a long time Solicitors and Lawyers alike had expressed a desire for a reform in the legislation which governs a person’s estate following a person’s death. This is  the law that decides how your belongings and property are divided after your death. The old rules were viewed as non reflective of today’s society, often leaving people disadvantaged financially, following the death of a loved and leaving them only with the option of claiming against their loved ones estate and entering into lengthy, long winded litigation to result in them, if they were lucky, being placed in the same position that they had been in when their loved one was alive.

As a whole it was expressed that the Intestacy Rules should consider the modern family, the way in which people raise their children, accept that people do not always enter into marriage and that on death the deceased would wish to benefit their families in the same way they had during their life and that the lack of the nuclear family doesn’t dictate the distribution of assets to relatives out of the immediate family.

After waiting with baited breath, the changes were received on 1st October 2014. The main impact being for married couples with or without children.

Sadly, the law was not reformed to benefit co habitees nor has the threshold under which the estate is divided increased.

The changes to married couples affect an estate of £250,000 or more. Bearing in mind today’s property prices and the threshold before the estate begins to be divided is merely the average property price, before calculating any assets.

If a couple have co habited for any length of time, be it 2 years or 30 years the surviving co habitee does not have a right to inherit from the estate of their Partner.

If the couple have lived as a “married” couple and one of them dies without a Will the survivor is left with the option of making a claim against the deceased’s estate in order to be financially provided for in the same way as they had been during the deceased’s lifetime. The surviving co habitee may be claiming against the Estate which may be defended by blood relatives that do not have or maintained a relationship with the deceased. Arguably the reforms have failed in reflecting the way in which many couples live.

However, positively the reforms have acknowledged that if a couple are married and do not have children of their own, there must be a greater need for the surviving spouse to inherit. Previously the surviving spouse would inherit the first £450 and the remainder would be divided between the blood relative, in the pecking order as set down by the Legislation.

After 1st October 2014 the surviving spouse (should the couple not have any children together) would inherit the entire estate. At first glance it appears that the reforms have taken into consideration the modern lifestyles of people. However this reform is highly criticised as it fails to consider children from former marriages. This rule alone will create many difficulties for children both under and above the age of majority that are born into either a former relationship or a former marriage.

The new Intestacy Rules do not make provision for the children of former relationships, to their detriment. A child of a former relationship may completely miss out on any inheritance should the spouse of their deceased parent draft a Will and not make financial provision for that child or in fact die themselves leaving their Estate to be divided under the Intestacy Rules.

An area that has benefitted children of the deceased greatly are the changes made to children that are adopted following the death of their parent. Under the new Intestacy Rules a child that is adopted following the death of their parent will not lose their right to inherit. However taking into consideration the reforms above, these children may only benefit greatly from their deceased parent’s estate should they be unmarried at the time of death.

A positive modernisation of the Intestacy Rules is the new definition of the terminology chattels.

The previous definition was arguably a definition that had been fitted awkwardly into modern lives, including personal belongings such as “carriages, horses and stable furniture”. The new definition is simply anything that is “not monetary, business assets or held as an investment.” A more suitable description of a person’s belongings in the 21st century. Although as with everything this definition is open to interpretation, for example not everybody has the same opinion of what forms an investment.

Although it was thought the new rules might assist people following the death of another, the reforms may in fact affect many people in detrimental ways.

Rather than Solicitors being left on foreign grounds of advising clients that they may receive greater benefit from the new Intestacy Rules, we are in fact on old ground and it cannot be said enough that the only way to ensure that your estate is distributed as you would wish is to draft a Will.  A Will is a document that will ensure the division of your assets occurs in the way you would want it to and any of your loved ones benefit and are accidently excluded and equally a Will would ensure that any family members can be excluded from the Estate rather than being included by Government set laws.

Should you wish for further advice please contact Angela McGuckin of VL Lawyers on 01335 300949.

Simon Hancox, Annabel’s Angels chairperson, stresses the importance of forward planning:

Annabel and I always said we’d get round to making a Will. It was one of those things we’d discuss but never actually do. I found it almost impossible to bring it  up when faced with Annabel’s terminal illness. I just didn’t want to discuss it, my head wasn’t right, Annabel’s head wasn’t right, it just didn’t feel right. Looking back, I wish we’d made time. I wish we’d sat down and discussed the unthinkable. It would have made things easier for me. 
In addition to the writing of a Will, it’s also a consideration to discuss other stuff too. Stuff like online passwords, utility provider details and the like. The stuff we all take for granted every day of our lives. Facebook passwords, hotmail accounts, online banking etc. Some of this stuff will disappear with us when we die.  Ask yourself this, what would happen if your partner died tomorrow? Would you know where your life insurance policy is? Would you know who supplies your energy? When does the car insurance expire? All of this and more.
Talk to each other, share your details if you feel it appropriate. Make plans. Talk to your solicitor about completing a personal assets sheet (bank details, assets, online passwords etc) and store this with your Will. 
Don’t think the unthinkable won’t happen to you. It just might.

Ben Nevis Bank Holiday Climb

August bank holiday weekend saw our team of Annabel’s Angels supporters plodding, trekking and rising to the challenge of conquering Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles.

At the top!

At the top!

The weekend started with less than promising rainy conditions, but the weather on the morning setting off was perfect, with the sun beaming down for the whole climb. It was a brilliant experience with incredible views for the whole climb, including at the top (pictured above) and the whole team managed the climb without any major problems.

Amongst the team was Simon’s son Will, the youngest hiker in the group at 9 years old, who completed the challenge with enjoyment, and is set to conquer Scafell Pike soon having already done Snowdon too!

Funds Raised

The event looks to have raised £2400, an amount that has exceeded all of our expectations.  We are extremely grateful for the support given by those who donated and, of course, those who were involved on the day. A big thank you to Toyota Manufacturing UK for contributing to the sponsorship total (some fantastic Toyota employees took part). 

The monies raised will strengthen support for those affected by cancer in Derby.  Our public fund grants programme will see the team purchase items and services to help improve the quality of life for cancer patients and local cancer groups in Derby.

Top of the mountain group selfie!

Top of the mountain group selfie!

Another shot of the incredible views

Another shot of the incredible views

Prints by Denise

Special edition prints with all profits donated to Annabel's Angels

A super trustee of Annabel's Angels Denise has produced a beautiful print of her oil painting which will be sold with all proceeds going to Annabel's Angels.

The painting features a silhouette of Calke Abbey in Derbyshire - Annabel's final resting place. Our chairperson Simon chose the words 'All is Peaceful' to display below the image. We think you'll agree it really is a wonderful and quite poignant piece of art.


The print is available to purchase from the link below directly from Denise's own website for the price of £10 which includes postage.

A bit of summer bag packing

We're off to Asda in Sinfin, Derby on Saturday 28 June to do a spot of bag packing to raise some funds. Why not join us?

We're looking to rope in some bag packing volunteers for the day.  Can you help? Ideally we're looking at placing at least 6 people on three shifts throughout the day as follows:   10.00 - 12.30 12.30 - 2.30 2.30 - 5.00  We can be as flexible as possible though, and any help is greatly appreciated. Children from 8 upwards are welcome too as long as they volunteer with their parents/guardians.

We're looking to rope in some bag packing volunteers for the day.  Can you help? Ideally we're looking at placing at least 6 people on three shifts throughout the day as follows:

10.00 - 12.30
12.30 - 2.30
2.30 - 5.00

We can be as flexible as possible though, and any help is greatly appreciated. Children from 8 upwards are welcome too as long as they volunteer with their parents/guardians.

All money raised will go towards our public grants scheme to directly support patients and families living with cancer in Derby.

Do let us know if you can join in on the day. Pop us an email to or drop us a line on our facebook page.


Simon x


Derby Firewalk - UPDATE: Postponed

Unfortunately due to complications, we have had to postpone the Derby Firewalk until further notice. We really appreciate the support everyone has given the event in the past month or so.
We will keep you updated when a new date has been set for the event, so like our Facebook page to keep up with the latest news.

Derby Firewalk

A fire walk will see you walking over hot coals at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a case of mind over matter. Think you can handle the heat?

Read on..

Annabels Angels and Pace Derby have teamed up together to hold a sponsored fire-walk event in Derby. It will take place on Saturday 21 June 2014 at 2.00 at the Market Place.

Firewalking can help you realise your potential. It can help you to establish a sense of meaning, purpose and set and achieve your goals.

You’ll receive full training and a health and safety induction beforehand. The event is open to people over the age of 18. Full training and safety briefing will take place directly before the event. It's free to enter for all on the basis that each participant will raise sponsorship with all the proceeds supporting Annabel's Angels.

Simon Hancox of Annabel’s Angels explains: “To be involved in the fire walk is fantastic, it’s a brilliant opportunity for people to try something new, daring and challenging while raising funds to support patients and families living with cancer in Derby at the same time.”

Registration for the event is through LocalGiving - for more details on how to register and to view a disclaimer for the event - click here.

Annabel’s Angels is a charitable organisation aiming to raise funds to increase the quality of life for patients and families living with cancer in Derby.

P.A.C.E Derby (Promote Ability Community Enterprise) is a Community Interest Company which supports people living with a disability by developing their abilities in a creative environment.

We hope to see you there!


Simon Hancox at TEDx Derby

We are very pleased to present to you a TEDx talk in Derby from Simon Hancox, entitled 'My journey of dealing with grief'. The video was recorded live from the event, and features a brief history into how Annabel's Angels began, as well as a powerful message from Simon himself.

To read more about TEDx Derby, an independently organised TED event, visit the TEDxDerby website.

Luke Yates - The Brighton Marathon

Luke Yates is running the Brighton Marathon on 6th April in the name of Annabel's Angels. Here he introduces himself and why he chose Annabel's Angels as his charity of choice for the marathon donations. Over to Luke. "

I'm 40 years old and I'm a full-time professional photographer from Hythe, Kent. I met Denise in a friend's coffee shop, and knew instantly there was something a bit remarkable about her - I then got to know her and found out about her battle with cancer, and how she's helped encourage and support others through her connection with Annabel's Angels.

As Denise enthused about her experiences, her passion and drive for the work Annabel's Angels does soon wore off on me and left me wanting to help too. Cancer is something that affects everybody on the planet in some way, and we've had our own troubles and worries as a family. Anyone's wife, mother, daughter or friend could suffer from cancer, and it can be a lonely, scary business.

So when I got accepted for a place for the Brighton marathon last year, I knew straightaway which charity I should run it for!

Brighton Marathon Luke Yates

Incidentally I never applied for the marathon - my wife (who ran the year before) did it on my behalf in secret and then when I got an email at work, she told me "Now you will know how it feels!"

Training I've been loving at the shorter distances - out in the fields with my music on I have been able to sort my head out on many a stressful day, and taken a real pleasure in the surrounding countryside. As we've approached the longer runs, half a marathon and beyond, my rapidly-ageing body has started to protest. I've had a few illnesses, colds and suchlike which really mess you up, pains in various bits of my body, and more recently I've had some more troubling lower-back issues, which needed to be sorted with physiotherapy.

Thankfully all is looking good now as we approach the final stretch, and I am really looking forward to the marathon experience, as I know the people there are massively supportive and friendly, and the atmosphere on the day is electric!


To donate to Luke and raise funds for Annabel's Angels, take a look at his localgiving page. Oh, and check out his Youtube Channel where he is taking song requests from donors! 

Grand Charity Auction Raised £60k!

The Grand Charity auction held by James Lewis in Westfield Derby last Novemeber has been confirmed to raise a total of £60,479. 2,200 lots were auctioned during the record breaking 26 hour long non-stop auction, with the proceeds being split between 10 Derby based charities, of which Annabel's Angels was one.

The lots on offer ranged from items with an estimated value of less than £10 to a brand new car, and the success of the event was due to huge support from the community, organisers and charities. 

The money donated to Annabel's Angels will be of great support to the cause, and the auction has helped us to increase our profile, raising awareness of the isolation experienced by cancer patients and carers. Our cut of the funds is just over £6000, and as a cause we plan to operate two funds - the public fund to support Derby based patients and families, and the partnerships fund for local cancer support groups and joint initiatives to help support people affected by cancer in Derby.

Annabel's Angels Charity Auction

A donation to the Derby Breast Cancer Support Group

Annabel's Angels is very pleased to support the work of Derby Breast Cancer Support Group. Today we donated some of our funds to the group to help them purchase a range of specialist mastectomy bras. It is anticipated that around 35 women will receive a specialist bra, fitting advice and ongoing support from the group as a result of our donation. Thanks again everyone for supporting us and enabling us to do this x 882268_495139140601990_1338884308_o

Annabel's Angels Royal Derby Hospital Survey

The Annabel's Angels team has been working closely with Healthwatch Derby. Healthwatch is an organisation set up by the government to help local people have a say in how local health and social care services are designed and delivered in local areas.

The two organisations have come together to design two surveys; one for  patients and one for family/friends, and they aim to capture the experiences of people who have been, or are being, treated for cancer at the Royal Derby Hospital.

These surveys will benefit Healthwatch research greatly, and also allow Annabel's Angels to gain a better insight into additional support needs for people affected by cancer and their families in Derby.

The surveys must be completed by Wednesday January 29 2014. They can be accessed via the links below.

Patient Survey

Family/Friends Survey

Auction Lot Update 3

Another update on auction lots here! The Grand Charity auction is this week on 28th from 6:30pm and runs for 24 hours. The official website for the auction now has a preview of the star listings that will be auctioned here, as well as a full auction listing here. You can also view a complete listing of the lots on Bamfords Auctioneers site here.

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