A retired teacher who has beaten cancer only to discover that her husband has been struck down by the disease has praised the charity choir which is helping her cope.
Cecelia Grundey, 63, from Glan Conwy, who joined the Llandudno Tenovus Choir earlier this year, made her debut for the Sing With Us choir at a special tea party held by a leading North Wales law firm.
The event held by Swayne Johnson, who have offices across North Wales and Chester, at Colwyn Bay Cricket Club for their clients raised over £200 for the choir whose upbeat set went down a storm.
And Cecelia was at Swayne Johnson’s Llandudno office to pick up the cheque along with choir conductor Izzy Rodrigues.
She has had the all-clear for the cancer of the uterus she had developed five years ago but unfortunately her husband, Fred, 69, a retired golf greenkeeper hasn’t been so fortunate after developing an aggressive and inoperable form of prostate cancer.
But Cecelia, who taught for many years at St Richard Gwyn School in Flint, said joining the choir had helped her deal with Fred’s illness.
The mum of two, who also has four grandchildren, is originally from Old Trafford, Manchester and said: “We lived so close to the cricket ground we could hear the sound of the bat against the ball.”
She and Fred moved to Glan Conwy and while he was head greenkeeper at a local golf club she taught religious studies at Flint until her own diagnosis with cancer.
She said: “I had gone through the menopause but I had a show of blood and went to the doctor and fortunately mine was an easy battle.
“My cancer was in a package that could be taken out so I had a hysterectomy to remove it and when they did a biopsy they found they had caught it in time but they’ve kept their eye on me for five years until I had the all clear.
“But then Fred was diagnosed with advanced and aggressive prostate cancer. He hadn’t been to the doctor so I had made an appointment and sent him there.
“Unfortunately, the cancer has metastasised to his bones. It’s on his shoulder, hips and ribs and although he’s still mobile we might see the day when he isn’t.
“He had chemo and although he didn’t lose his hair he was still very ill.
“Now his care is purely palliative. They haven’t told us how long and we haven’t asked.
“He’s very stoic and we have used the humour we’ve always had. We still laugh and joke with each other.”
Cecelia’s own experience had been much simpler and she stressed how important it is to get early diagnosis. She said: “My best friend’s doctor didn’t react quickly enough and it was too late for her. She died six years ago.
“The choir has made a huge difference to me. I went on Facebook and a friend posted that her husband was in the choir so I went on the choir website and Izzy invited me along to rehearsals.
“At first everyone else knows all the words and you think you can’t do it but I love it now.
“It has helped me so much. A couple of months ago I finally had the all clear and I couldn’t go home and celebrate but I could do with the choir.
“We rehearse every week in Rhos on Sea. I’m an alto and I love it when we sing a really uplifting song.
“I hadn’t sung since I was in school when we had a big Mass – it was a Catholic school – with lots of hymns to be sung.”
Emma Deering, a Legal Executive in Swayne Johnson’s Private Client section, said: “The Tenovus Choir are such a fantastic project that we have used them before for our client events and they’ve gone down very well.
“We like to do something a bit special for our clients and they have clearly been a big hit with them too as they’ve donated generously yet again.
“Singing is excellent therapy and you can see how much the choir members enjoy what they’re doing so we’re delighted to support them.”
Choir conductor Izzy Rodrigues, from Chester who has a music degree from Bangor University, said: “The concept of the Tenovus Choirs has been going for eight years and has been very successful.
“Tenovus has done research into the benefits of singing and it has a biological effect on your body, reducing stress hormones and boosting the immune system as well.”