Cancer sufferer Sylvia refuses to be beaten

ANYONE FOR TEA?: Sylvia Tatum and her daughter Sharon Paxton are holding a coffee morning.
ANYONE FOR TEA?: Sylvia Tatum and her daughter Sharon Paxton are holding a coffee morning.

As she continues a five-year battle with leukaemia, Sylvia Tatum remains as committed as ever to the cause that helped her late husband.

The 70-year-old is once again preparing to host a coffee morning at the end of the month in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

It will be the seventh time Mrs Tatum, from Waldingfield Road, Sudbury, will hold such an event for the charity’s annual World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.

Her first fundraiser came shortly after the death of her husband Eric. “I just wanted to do my bit for Macmillan,” she said.

“The nurses looking after Eric were absolutely brilliant and they helped to give me a break.”

Mr Tatum died in August 2006 after losing his fight against cancer. The couple had shared a full life and had six children.

Less than two months after her husband’s death, Mrs Tatum raised £1,400 with a coffee morning at her home, but in recent years the donations have dwindled.

“I still have the picture of me with the nurse handing over that first cheque,” said Mrs Tatum.

“But last year wasn’t so good and I ended up just sending £50 to charity.”

Determined to repeat her earlier successes, Mrs Tatum, who was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2008 and has also had to cope with the shock of her 39-year-old son Eric suffering a stroke, is staging an event at Tudor Primary School in Sudbury on September 28.

“The school has agreed that I can use the building for free,” said Mrs Tatum, a former caretaker at the school.

“People have been really good with offers of gifts, and shops are helping out.”

She also has the support of her daughter Sharon Paxton, from Jubilee Road, Sudbury, who is lending a hand in organising the raffle, tombola and refreshments.

“I have to go to hospital every three months for medication to treat my leukaemia, but things are going well at the moment,” said Mrs Tatum.

“I like doing a bit of charity work as it keeps me busy.”

The coffee morning will run from 10am to 2pm.