AN INSPIRATIONAL Inverkip woman with incurable cancer has stepped in to show her support for vital services run by charity.

Former senior nurse Margaret Irvine, who was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer three years ago, has recently raised funds for the Macmillan Cancer benefit support service and their Move More exercise class.

The 53-year-old is one of thousands of cancer patients locally who have been helped enormously by the charity in the last ten years and is keen to highlight the difference they make.

She organised an afternoon tea for family, friends and neighbours to raise money for the cause.

Margaret, of Findhorn Road, said: "I'm very fortunate to have wonderful family and friends who are so supportive.

"But Macmillan Cancer has helped me so much along the way.

"They gave me advice when I needed it.

"I have been sitting next to people in the oncology ward who are worrying how they are going to heat their homes in the winter, which is terrible.

"I always refer people to Macmillan when I am speaking to them - I don't know what people would do without them.

" It is a very difficult time for people when they are diagnosed and financial worries can have a huge impact on your health.

"You can't prepare for things like you do with retirement, you don't have everything tied up.

"Macmillan Cancer just helps so much.

"The welfare rights officer Jacqueline Coyle does a great job."

Former nurse Margaret also benefits from a Macmillan Cancer exercise class which is run by Inverclyde Leisure.

Co-ordinator Gavin Campbell has helped around a hundred people since it was set up.

He also runs gentle movement classes and walking groups.

Margaret said: "It makes such a big difference to go to a class and speak to people who are going through the same as you.

"It might not be the same cancer, but you have having similar experiences and people are at all different stages.

"You feel you can be a help to people as well and it also keeps you active and gets you out the house."

Margaret, who is supported by her husband Allan, 54, and daughter Aileen, 29, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006.

After months of gruelling treatment she fought her way back to full health and returned to work.

Margaret, who was based in the Greenock Health Centre with the district nursing team for a number of years, continued where she left off, rising through the ranks to a senior nurse manager's post with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board.

But three years ago she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer which had spread to her bones, liver,and lungs.

She underwent six rounds of chemo which helped shrink cancerous cells in her liver and reduce it in her lungs.

Margaret added: "I think about it as living with cancer.

"You look a picture of health but you get really tired and you are reminded you have a really serious illness.

"Having a nursing background I know how to control my own pain relief and I know when I need to go to the doctor.

"But I have also seen what cancer does to you."

Welfare rights officer Jacqueline, who runs the benefit service, says she is moved by Margaret' support for Macmillan.

She said: "Margaret really is an inspiration - she is wonder woman.

"I can't thank her enough for all her support.

"The money raised helps us in so many ways."

Margaret would like to thank all her family, friends and neighbours for supporting the afternoon tea in her house, which raised nearly £800 for the charity.