Dedicated Sussex volunteer wins top Macmillan Cancer Support award

A kind-hearted Sussex University student who has given hours of her time to helping people living with cancer has been honoured by Macmillan Cancer Support at the charity’s annual Volunteer Awards.

Lucy Creamer SUS-200406-142112001
Lucy Creamer SUS-200406-142112001

Lucy Creamer, 20, has volunteered for the charity for more than 18 months, working at the Macmillan Horizon Centre in Brighton.

Often running the café – which is currently closed – on her own, Lucy regularly covers other shifts across the week when no other volunteers are available and helps new volunteers to settle in.

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She has persuaded the Sussex University Women’s Rugby Club to fundraise for the Horizon Centre and has held a number of fundraising activities herself.

The experience of having Lucy as a volunteer inspired the Horizon Centre to set up a formal partnership with the university and since then, seven more students signed on to become volunteers at the centre.

For her tireless efforts, Lucy has been named Young Macmillan Champion, a UK-wide award recognising inspiring and exceptional young volunteers.

Lucy was initially inspired to help Macmillan by a friend of her grandmother’s and she and her dad have been helped by the charity after Lucy’s mum was diagnosed with brain cancer.

She said: “I have always done charity stuff since I was young. One of my Gran’s friends raised a lot of money for Macmillan over the course of her life so I was aware of the charity and the work it does.

“When my mum was diagnosed my dad and I were both given support by Macmillan and I wanted to give something back. I was really keen to volunteer for them and get involved, not just raise money.

“My family is from Devon but when I got into Sussex University my mum and dad moved to Sussex which made it easier for me to stay close to them. I knew about the Horizon Centre and actually applied for a position on reception but ended up working in the café which really suited me.

“Everybody I’ve met there is so positive and friendly. People use the Horizon Centre to talk to professionals but sometimes it’s nice for them to come to the café for a chat. It’s a bit of an escape for people.

“It’s very rewarding to be able to brighten somebody’s day over a cuppa because they can be going through difficult times and very often might be struggling.”

Geoff Brown, Macmillan Horizon Centre manager, said: “A key part of the role of the café volunteers is to chat to visitors to make them feel welcome and at home. Lucy does this very well and has been commended by visitors for being extremely helpful and caring.

“Lucy also gets on very well with the other volunteers, many of whom are 50 years her senior. This camaraderie really helps to create a positive and inclusive atmosphere in the Horizon Centre café.

“She has persuaded the Sussex University Women’s Rugby Club to fundraise for the centre and she has led a number of fundraising activities herself, including cake stalls and a hot dog eating competition. Her efforts have not only raised funds, but also engaged and raised her peers’ understanding and awareness of Macmillan and of cancer as well.

“The Horizon Centre staff and her fellow volunteers are all amazed at how much Lucy gives and the calm and balance she has been able to maintain, at her age, with so much going on in her life.

“She is amazing and a very deserving recipient of this award.”

Before the café shut due to coronavirus, Lucy had stepped away to become a part-time carer for her mum, who sadly died at the end of March.

Lucy said: “I will be going back when university starts again, I can’t wait to get back, I love it there.

“I was truly flattered to get the Young Macmillan Champion award, it really means a lot to me.”

To donate to Macmillan Cancer Support, visit www.macmillan.org.uk/emergency or call 0300 1000 200.