Christmas smells great for happy duo after successful treatments

June Blythe(right) and Annette Wills who have been united after both undergoing a procedure that has regained their sense of smell allowing then to June Blythe(right) and Annette Wills who have been united after both undergoing a procedure that has regained their sense of smell allowing then to "sniff" a lemon and also for the first time in ages, a Christmas tree. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
9:00 AM

The smell of a real Christmas tree is an essential element of a homely festive atmosphere for many people – but none more so than for June Blythe and Annette Wills.

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June Blythe(left) and Annette Wills who have been united after both undergoing a procedure that has regained their sense of smell allowing then to "sniff" a lemon and also for the first time in ages, a Christmas tree.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYJune Blythe(left) and Annette Wills who have been united after both undergoing a procedure that has regained their sense of smell allowing then to "sniff" a lemon and also for the first time in ages, a Christmas tree. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

As reported in the Evening News in September, Mrs Blythe, from Taverham, successfully regained her sense of smell after 37 years thanks to a pioneering operation.

On Monday night Mrs Blythe had a special visitor from Somerset, Annette Wills, who has also been through the same exciting success story. Both women suffered from a condition called chronic rhinosinusitis but after surgery are now rediscovering a whole world of different smells.

Mrs Blythe said: “It was amazing. We were both very excited to meet each other because it was a unique experience.

“It all came from Annette reading about my story in the national newspapers after you guys (the Norwich Evening News) had written about my story.

“She went and had the surgery as well and hey presto, it has changed her life just like it did for me.”

Both women were cured of their problem by ear, nose and throat consultant surgeon, Dr Carl Philpott, who runs the country’s only NHS Smell and Taste Clinic at the James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston. The pioneering clinic helps diagnose and treat people from across the country that suffer from a condition called anosmia – the inability to detect odours.

Mrs Blythe a grandmother-of-two, has since started helping to promote Dr Philpott’s work, to try and attract further funding from the Department of Health.

The 65-year-old had an operation to remove growths called polyps in June this year and as well as regaining her sense of smell has also been able to breathe out of her nose more freely, as the condition exacerbated her asthma.

Mrs Blythe has since spoken of her experiences in front of health experts at the University of East Anglia and spoke at the London College of Communications last weekend.

While in the capital she fulfilled a long-held ambition, as a keen cook, to go to London’s Borough Market. Mrs Blythe added: “I could smell every smell imaginable, lots of coffee, fruits and vegetables, all the Italian and French cooking and Swiss and Italian cheeses. It was wonderful.”

Mrs Blythe is now involved with a website which is dedicated to supporting smell and taste disorder sufferers. Go to www.fifthsense.org.uk for more information.

Have you got a story for the Evening News? Contact reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or david.freezer@archant.co.uk

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