A RETIRED car salesman from Egerton was “delighted” to discover the cancer support group he set up had been nominated for a national award. 

Ian Jackson, aged 77, spent years pushing for a cancer support group for patients who are “blindsided” by their diagnosis. 

The Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service was the culmination of his efforts and has helped more than 7,000 patients in Bolton. 

Mr Jackson said: “In my case — I think it’s common with everyone you go for the results — you’re blindsided you get told you have cancer and you become deaf. You’re scared stiff, you’re petrified. 
“You have to drive home in a hell of a state.”

Mr Jackson’s experience after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2003 led to him running the Bolton Prostate Cancer Support Group, which he was chairman of for eight years. 

He said: “During that time I was approached by the primary care trust to go on a cancer patients committee, we used to meet and those meetings I kept pushing for a support group for all the cancers. I felt there was a big need for one based at the hospital.”

Thanks to more than £400,000 of funding from Macmillan Mr Jackson was able to set up the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service and base it at Royal Bolton Hospital. 

Mr Jackson said: “It was to have someone who could talk them down and make sure they’re okay. Somewhere you could meet people in the same boat.

“I found running the support group there were people coming in on the verge of tears but smiling or laughing when they left two or three hours later. 

“The main thing was to reduce the fear. It’s a tremendous impact on everyone. 

“I have surgery and radiotherapy — I could talk about those and might be able to reassure people and there would be others on other types of treatments and I’d pair them up.”

The service is one of the finalists for Macmillan excellence awards in the Integration Excellence category, which Mr Jackson was “delighted” to find out in The Bolton News last month.

He said: “Last time I was in there I was told they had had a footfall of 7,000 people. I was tickled pink when I read this and I’m delighted and proud. It’s what I hoped for and I’m so pleased.”

Winners will be announced at the Macmillan Professionals Awards ceremony on November 8.