2021 Acting Chair/Secretary Report

Acting Chair/Secretary.
Registered Charity No. 1100718

Acting Chair/Secretary Report
In our 19th year has a registered charity and 21 years of running this support group, we have now faced the most challenging year ever. The pandemic has affected the lifestyle, not only of our country, but most other countries are also suffering the affects of Covid19. An unknown virus was being discussed in January 2020, has now devastated the world and affected the future of many countries economies. At this moment in time, in our third lockdown, we cannot see life returning to normality for some time. Hopefully, with the roll out of the vaccines, we should be seeing some improvement but this could still take several months.
As an organisation which supports men with prostate cancer, it has now become difficult to keep in touch with our members and offer the same kind of support given at our open meetings. When we had new members attending our meetings we would introduce them to other men who had been treated and would be willing to be a buddie to them or who may have already been in contact by telephone as a Buddie. Our open meetings had to be cancelled from April 2020, and as a result, new members to our group have been very few.
With the help of Prostate Cancer U.K. and Dr. Steve Allen, we were persuaded to try Zoom talks for our members and these started in July 2020, and so far after four talks have been quite successful. The last talk by Di Fox, Physical Activity Co-ordinator from the University of Worcester, contained information about fitness classes that she would be starting every Monday morning at 10.30 a.m. from 4th January 2021, for our members. She presented these at various levels, so that everybody could do the exercises at whatever level they felt comfortable with. These will continue while we have support for them and Di can host them, and all will be saved like our talks on our website, for anyone who wants to try them.
I am aware that not everyone in our group has the use of technology, or do not like Zoom meetings, but if you have access to a tablet or lap top then you can still click on these items on our website without the Zoom app. I do apologise that we cannot reach everyone, but we do our best to ensure all members are called by a Support Contact. But, we will inform you all by Newsletter as soon as we know we can start open meetings again, and we can all get together some time this year.
In a county that regularly diagnoses over 600 men with prostate cancer every year, we have had our lowest level of new members. As a result of this, we have contacted our President Mr. A Makar and Patron Dr. Lisa Capaldi to arrange for myself and Gordon Kingston (Chairman for South Worcestershire) to meet up at some time to discuss the future of the group. However, with the latest Covid crisis, we understand that all medical workers are too busy for us to pursue them at this time.
Plans are being made for more Zoom talks to be arranged from February onwards please check on our website, and all information will go in the quarterly Newsletters, but, information about talks will always been sent to members who have provided us with an email address.
Our biggest loss this year is the death of our wonderful Chairman, Paul Brothwell in August 2020. Paul suffered a rampant illness which took him from us too quickly, leaving all of us shocked and bereft. He was not only a loss to our group but to every organisation that he had been or still was, involved with. A man who gave so much to his community and was still offering more, a man who cared so much for other people. We will never replace Paul, but out of respect for him, I am happy to continue as Acting Chair, until the right person steps forward to take on this important role. It has become difficult to get new committee members, not helped by no public meetings, but would be delighted if any members step forward with ideas on how we can improve the groups’ activities and are willing to help achieve this.
Derek Wood has been a very supportive member of our committee for some years, but feels that now is the time to step down. We thank Derek for all his help and wish him well, and hope that he still attends our meetings on Zoom or in Public when we finally can have them.
Gordon Kingston and Peter Corbishley have stepped forward in helping expand our groups’ role. Gordon and myself, have attending Zoom meetings with Health Watch for Worcestershire and Gordon has attended meetings with the CCG. Peter, has conducted research with several other support groups for prostate cancer to compare what they do for their members, and it was uplifting to find out that we were the only group to send out regular Newsletters. Peter is keeping in touch with the leaders of other groups so that they can recommend Speakers for us. He has offered to work with John Mills as Co-editor of the Supporter and has some very good ideas regarding future issues. One of things we do not do is produce enough photographs of our open meetings and events, and would be exceedingly grateful if anyone from South Worcestershire or the Wyre Forest area would be willing to attend our open meeting and take photographs for our Supporter it would be a great help to us.
Paul Markall, continues, and does a wonderful job as our Treasurer, and keeps us all on our toes. It is a crucial job and a lot of work involved with paperwork side of things is very challenging. Paul also started the Men’s Shed at Leapgate Farm, and will be talking about this, as it grows in every respect.
Val Markall, Paul’s wife is a stalwart of the group, who has stepped down as minutes secretary and this has been taken on by Mark Hall. She has many commitments for the group helping Paul with his clerical work, doing labels for Newsletters and helping to pack the envelopes and also along with Hilary Brothwell and Margaret Shakespeare produce the food at the Town Hall. She has, therefore, agreed to be on committee has a co-opted member.
Derek Scully, is in charge of the membership database and Support Contacts and does a very good job. We thank all Support Contacts for their support to our members throughout the past year, and hope we can arrange a meeting in 2021.
Dr. Dick Herbert, will continue on our committee offering help and medical advice to us all and supporting our work.
David Underhill is the link for Tackle, the organisation which covers all support groups for Prostate Cancer in the U.K.
Richard Langley has been our saviour in these difficult times, already helping as our P.R. man and website manager with Daniel Cook our website designer, but now he has managed all our committee meetings by Zoom, and talks, also fitness classes. The work they have achieved and the extra information being loaded on to our website is crucial to enable us to connect with our members. Nicky Langford has also contributed with the website and social media promoting the group on Facebook and Twitter.
Martin Harrington and Eddy Rudge, are co-opted members of our committee and have helped Paul with the Men’s Shed and informal gatherings and growing skills.
All these are willing to stand again as Trustees/Co-opted and Peter has been voted in by the committee as a new Trustee in view of the roles he has within the group.
All the best to all our members and families
We’ll meet again.

Mary Symons
19th January 2021.

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