ROY Parkinson had never had a sick day until he was diagnosed with bowel cancer. However, a project run by Macmillan Cancer Support has helped the 78-year-old make a speedy recovery!

Diagnosed last November, two weeks after undergoing surgery for the cancer, Roy, of Arncliffe Drive, Barnsley, was back gardening in his allotment.

His quick recovery and ongoing good health is due, in part, to a pilot project in Barnsley which offers support over the phone to people who have had bowel cancer.

The pilot, is funded by Macmillan Cancer Support and delivered by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust's care navigation service.

It aims to help patients regain their independence and return to a normal healthy lifestyle with nurses providing telephone consultations to ensure patients remain well after treatment and lead a healthy lifestyle.

It also reduces the need for them to travel unnecessarily to hospital appointments - support that is vital for isolated people like Roy.

He said: "If you're divorced and live in a bungalow on your own like I do, it's reassuring to know there's someone on the end of the phone if I need something or my health deteriorates.

"I have regular calls from them to check how I'm doing and it was really nice to know the support was there if I needed it."

Other than a three-month hospital stay to treat a hernia when he was 47, Roy, who worked as an engineer for 50 years, had never had a sick day until he was diagnosed with cancer.

"It was really hard for me to be laid up, I wasn't used to it. I'm used to living a busy, active lifestyle."  

He was treated at Barnsley Hospital and underwent surgery on Valentine's Day. He has now returned to full health but is still having regular check-ups.