FOR Linda Enderby it was a case of being in the right place at the right time.

She explains how she learned about the fundraising role with the Cancer Support Centre in Bradford while attending IT training sessions in the city's cathedral centre.

Linda had been made redundant from a personnel role and although the post was only for year she decided to take it - the rest, she says, is history.

Nearly 25 years later she cannot believe how much has been achieved by the charity which, this year, celebrates a very special milestone - it's 30th anniversary.

"I feel proud to be part of the growth of the charity because I have seen so many changes from starting to where we are now - quite unbelievable - I am just really proud," says Linda, who is now the charity's community engagement officer.

Cancer Support Yorkshire, as it is now known following a recent name change, is an independent charity providing practical help and support to those affected by cancer.

Established in 1988, the charity developed from research carried out by Dr Clifford Dobson of Bradford University into the emotional effects of cancer on patients and their families.

Explains Linda: "He found that those affected by cancer worried about everything from who was going to walk their dog whilst in hospital to death itself. He made the decision to open a centre that would provide voluntary help, emotional support and practical advice for the people of Bradford, affected by a cancer diagnosis."

Linda recalls the charity began in rented premises in Vicar Lane, Little Germany in January 1988. It was, she says, the first of its type in the country. Dr Dobson held the role as director.

Sandra Hutton later took over as director and recognised income maintenance was a critical issue for many people. This led to a dedicated welfare rights advice service being set up - believed to be one of the first in the country.

In 1993 the late Bob Sowman, Lord Mayor of Bradford at that time, chose it as his charity of the year helping to boost funds and raise its profile.

Linda became Administrator of the Appeal around the same time and recalls wishing her then temporary role would become her forever career.

"Everyone smiled and there was so much happiness amongst the inevitable sadness that cancer can cause.

"The volunteers were truly amazing, transporting people to hospital appointments, counselling, teaching art as therapy, cooking lunches two days a week - I felt privileged to know them.

"Little did I know then that Cancer Support would become such a comfort, a source of strength to me, my parents and my family in the years to come."

Expansion prompted re-location to larger premises and the name change to Bradford Cancer Support.

A Community Development Worker, funded by the Big Lottery, began working on developing relationships with oncology health professionals and local GPs.

Says Linda: "The project was a huge success resulting in people being referred to us much sooner into their diagnosis."

The charity developed services such as transport and information within a designated area in Bradford Royal Infirmary, complementary therapies, group support, art and craft and exercise.

It was a £100,000 legacy that kick-started the appeal for a purpose built Cancer Support Centre in Bradford.

"The Daisy Appeal was launched to raise £1.4 million to purchase land and for the build," recalls Linda.

"Our model of support was well established and proven to make a huge difference to the lives of local people affected by cancer."

Support for the Daisy Appeal prompted the move in September 2008 to Daisy House Farm in Smith Lane and another name change - Cancer Support Bradford & Airedale.

Exploring further opportunities in the Yorkshire region led to the subsequent name change- Cancer Support Yorkshire - and the launch of the Skipton centre in September 2014 in the market town where the charity also launched its first charity shop.

Linda explains services are run by dedicated volunteers. "They cost approximately £750,000 per year to provide and are free to anyone who needs them."

She says they have to raise 70 per cent of their costs and rely on fundraising and donations to survive.

The fundraising campaign for their anniversary year this year has an Eighties theme and Linda hopes the public and local businesses will get behind them hosting Eighties discos, dress down days and quizzes.

"Thirty years serving our local communities is quite an achievement, but this isn't enough for us. We want to be around for many years to come to help everyone who needs us.

"I personally think Dr Dobson would be so proud of how far we have taken his vision, I know I am."

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