A CANCER survivor who has helped raise hundreds of pounds for the charity which supported him through his battle has been named as one of their ‘community champions’.

Geoff Whittaker, 63, from Barker House Road, Nelson, was taking part in a collection at Asda, in Colne, on Friday, when he was surprised by the Rosemere Cancer Foundation team.

Daniel Hill, area fundraising co-ordinator, asked a Padiham-based florist to provide some gifts for Geoff, including a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of red wine.

Geoff was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2010.

He was sent to the Rosemere Cancer Centre after his diagnoses and the charity supported him through two weeks in intensive care, three weeks of radiotherapy and a 13-hour operation, during which he had his voice box removed.

Since beating the disease, Geoff, who uses a tracheostomy tube to aid his speaking, now volunteers for Rosemere at various events and collections and uses his building skills to make items including wheelbarrows, bird boxes, bed boxes and window boxes, donating all of the money from the sales to Rosemere.

Recalling his battle with cancer, Geoff said: “It was an extremely tough time for myself and my family.

“I owned my own building company and was a plasterer by trade, but after I fell ill, I had to retire from my profession and give up my business.” I wanted to keep my chin up and get on with life. I have never been someone who can sit around and do nothing, so I knew that after my recovery, I needed to busy myself.”

Geoff has raised more than £1,500 for charity alone, as well as helping out with collections and events which have raised much more.

His wife, Jannette, 65, and daughters, Sarah, 38, and Amanda, 39, are also supporters of the charity.

He said: “I absolutely love volunteering for Rosemere.

“It means I can make use of my skills, spend my days doing things that I enjoy and give back to a fantastic cause.”