AS coffee mornings go they don’t get much bigger than Macmillan’s.
Typically held on the last Friday in September what began as a small-scale fundraising idea has grown into quite literally the world’s biggest event of its kind.

It is simple – guests gather together over coffee and cakes while donating to Macmillan in the process. It is a great way to catch up with friends and raise money for a good cause.

Macmillan are a charity who get involved with people with cancer from the moment they are diagnosed, through treatment, during recovery and beyond.

It is a sobering fact to think one in three of us will get cancer during our lives and we will all know someone who has been directly affected by it.

It is probably the singular most scary piece of news anyone can receive but it is important to remember – especially these days – a diagnosis is not a death sentence.

I am proud to say as provost that the council works in partnership with Macmillan to provide a much-needed and well-used advice service.

Patients can get help across a range of financial issues – from a young family with a mortgage to more elderly patients worried about heating costs and travelling expenses to and from hospital.

They can get information and help claiming benefits they may not realise they are entitled to such as council tax reduction, support with mortgage interest payments or grants.

Sadly people are often dealt a double-whammy of devastating news following diagnosis when the potential financial impact of cancer becomes clearer. There can be a huge sense of relief when they discover they can claim benefits and that support is available.

The service in Inverclyde has been hugely successful since it was set up nine years ago. Around 3,000 people have been helped and more than £10 million in additional income secured – income that has made a real difference.

And, of course, Macmillan offer medical, emotional and personal support that makes a huge difference to people going through some of the toughest times of their lives.

That was why I was more than delighted to drop-in to the coffee morning organised by staff at the Municipal Buildings and play my own small part in supporting such a worthy cause, and of course in-turn supporting people in our own communities fighting cancer.

Incidentally, we raised nearly £600 in just a couple of hours.