BOLTON’S cancer choir — the only group of its kind just for cancer patients, survivors and their friends and family — is proving to have more than just entertainment value for its members.

In a recent survey 80 per cent of people involved said they felt they had benefited physically, mentally or emotionally from being in the choir, and 60 per cent a physical boost.

Those taking part said they had improved breathing, more energy, a more positive outlook and an increased sense of well-being.

Bolton Cancer Voices was set up just 19 months ago by Karen Elliott, to be an inspirational choir for people at any stage in their cancer journey.

Ms Elliott said: “It’s early days for us but the choir has really taken off. The important thing is that everyone is having fun and enjoying the experience, however we were delighted to learn that members also feel they are seeing other benefits in terms of their health and well-being, which is fantastic.

“When people receive a cancer diagnosis it can feel that life is spinning out of control and even after treatment is complete the consequences may continue to be felt.

“Singing can be powerful, empowering and energising and I believe it can play a role in helping boost confidence and self-esteem — both of which some find to be undermined when they receive a cancer diagnosis.”

The choir’s first major concert was the Jingle Bell Sing-A-Long in December, when they were joined on stage by their guests Besses o’ th’ Barn Band, as well as other cancer patients and cancer survivors, professionals involved in the treatment, care or support of cancer patients and singers from local choirs.

Ms Elliott said: “We considered it important to share feedback of our experience in the hope that it might inspire and encourage others to recognise the potential of choirs such as ours.”

For more information on joining Bolton Cancer Voices please contact Karen Elliott on 01204 595562 / 07773 164235; email or visit