A RETIRED grandmother from Eccleston celebrated her 70th birthday with a party dedicated to raising funds for St Helens Cancer Support Group.

Former legal secretary and mother-of-three Linda Houlton, of Ellison Drive, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and, just weeks later, with a separate kidney cancer.

She said, though "devastated and scared" by the diagnosis, her family, friends and St Helens Cancer Support Group were "exceptional in their support" - and this is why she decided to devote her birthday bash to the charity, which is based at Corporation Street.

She said: "I am delighted to say we raised £1,705. I joined the group shortly after being diagnosed and I can't thank them enough for all their kindness and support. I don't know what I would have done without them. The group is run entirely by volunteers who work long hours to keep the charity going."

Around 150 people attended the party, which was held on June 24 at West Park Rugby Union Club.

The Woodlanders provided entertainment and a buffet was provided by Wendy Barton.

Linda added: "I hadn't realised before how many people were living with cancer.

"In one year I had a kidney removed, a lumpectomy and then a mastectomy. The following year I underwent chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy. Unfortunately later that year a scan revealed nodules on my lung and liver. The nodules were removed from my lung and the diagnosis was secondary kidney cancer."

Treatment for this began in March 2015 but this stopped working in March 2017 and Linda's oncologist started her on a new drug.

She said: "Since starting the new treatment I feel amazing, I have no side effects and I feel normal again."

St Helens Cancer Support Group offers emotional support to anyone whose life has been affected by cancer and they can provide complimentary therapies and arrange counselling, as well as holding social events like days out and coffee mornings.

A spokesperson for the group said: "We are very grateful to Linda for her efforts. What a wonderful idea to hold a fundraiser party! This money will go towards helping more people cope with their, or a loved one's, cancer diagnosis."

The Corporation Street office opens on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 11am to 3pm and anybody affected by cancer is welcome to call in.