Local community come together to support their neighbour

People living on "Britain’s friendliest street" in Wigan are rallying round a neighbour for her annual Macmillan Cancer Support Coffee Morning.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 4:12 pm

Mary Madden, who is a long term resident of Pemberton Road, Winstanley, is once again hosting the get-together which across the North West saw people raising over £1m for the charity before Covid.

For Mary, whose house overlooks Winstanley Park, the Macmillan Coffee Morning is a way of remembering her husband Kevin, who died nine years ago from pulmonary fibrosis and to connect with neighbours once again.

Mary said: “Last year my Macmillan Coffee Morning was difficult to do as people couldn’t come in the house, but I still managed to put a table out on the pavement against my garden wall and a few chairs on the grass verge.

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Mary Madden at her home on Pemberton Road, Wigan, named Britain’s Friendliest Street in 2020

"Loads of neighbours came by just to donate and pass the time of day over a piece of cake. It was a wonderful interlude at a very strange and lonely time.

“This year it will be great to have people in the house and garden and to spend longer chatting with them and make them a decent brew. Like many people I’ve been unable to see my close family over the pandemic, so my neighbours have been an absolute lifeline.

“Last year, someone who lives in another street and cares for a relative with dementia knocked on and donated because they saw my sign. He’s done the same again this year. People are so lovely."

She will hold the coffee morning this Saturday September 25.

Macmillan Coffee Morning Day is traditionally the last Friday in September, but people are encouraged to do it any day and any way that suits them. The fundraiser is facing a £20m income drop for the second year running – with sign ups even lower now than last year.

John Rullo, regional fund-raising manager for Macmillan Cancer Support said: “Mary and her neighbours on Pemberton Road are absolutely brilliant for supporting Macmillan Coffee Morning.

"We know how much more than a fundraiser this annual get-together can be for communities. It’s a wonderful social event where people get the chance to catch up again after the summer and after the start of the new academic years, where so much changes for so many families.

“Around 98 per cent of Macmillan's funding comes directly from donations, but disruption caused by Covid 19 means demand for our services is high, while our income remains low.

“We fund our free seven-day-a-week helpline, which has answered more than a quarter of a million telephone queries from people affected by cancer since the first national lockdown. The helpline is currently taking 22 per cent more calls than this time last year as people with cancer continue to turn to Macmillan’s nurses and experts for vital support.

“We hope as many people as possible will attend or hold a Macmillan Coffee Morning over the next few days or even weeks.”

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