Beccles grandmother honoured for inspirational charity work

Nanna Lay has been presented with an Inspirational Fundraiser Award from the Norfolk and Norwich Hos

Nanna Lay has been presented with an Inspirational Fundraiser Award from the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A grandmother of four has been honoured for raising thousands of pounds for cancer charities while she was fighting the disease herself.

Nanna Lay was presented with a silver award in the individual category of the Norwich and Norwich University Hospital's Inspirational Fundraising Awards for her tireless fundraising before, during and after her treatment.

Through hula hooping with fire and a Halloween supper, the Beccles woman has raised £7,500 for the hospital's Targeted Radiotherapy Appeal which has also paid for chemotherapy heat pads and mattresses for radiotherapy patients.

A further £5,000 has been set aside for refurbishing the radiotherapy consultation room, with work due to start soon.

Mrs Lay said: 'It was very exciting to be nominated and I was thrilled to bits to get an award. I definitely appreciated the enormity of the whole thing. It was a real privilege to be in the same room as all of the other amazing fundraisers. Some of the people winning awards had suffered great personal loss and I was extremely humbled by that.'

Mrs Lay has also raised funds for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Cancer Research UK with her friend Hazel Johnson who has also overcome cancer, and the Louise Hamilton Centre at the James Paget University Hospital.

Mrs Lay began supporting the appeal in June 2014 after discovering that some close friends had been diagnosed with cancer.

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But in April 2015 she found that she too had cancer and would go on to use the facilities that she had helped raise money for.

All the cancer was removed, but due to its aggressive nature she underwent a gruelling course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy as a preventative measure.

She said: 'Having had first hand experience of the process and the treatment I could see what I thought might be beneficial to others. I feel very lucky that my situation was so well handled but I was also inspired by the way my own friends dealt with it.

'I really want to thank everyone who supported me through my illness and my fundraising both here and in Australia.'

Louise Cook, fundraising manager at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital said: 'Nanna has put her heart and soul into her fundraising and has really gone the extra mile for us. She's so committed to helping the hospital support local people.

'When she was receiving her treatment she was just so positive, always considerate and kind to the staff and so appreciative of what they were doing. She thoroughly deserved the award.'

Mrs Lay's next venture is to raise money to buy kangaroo chairs for the NICU unit at the NNUH after her own granddaughter was born in May at just 27 weeks and spent several months in a Melbourne hospital.

She has also started working on a voluntary basis for Jamie Oliver by providing cookery lessons to young carers at Pakefield School in Lowestoft.

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