Welcome to the OPA support group for Brighton stretching from Worthing to Hastings and inland to Haywards Heath and Heathfield. We welcome anyone diagnosed with, recovering from, or having recovered from oesophageal or stomach cancer. We also welcome those facing gastric difficulties or individuals experiencing difficulty swallowing or eating food. Whatever your circumstances, we are here to offer support, and we hope you will consider joining us at our next group meeting. We meet quarterly and details of our next meetings are updated here regularly.


Meeting Schedule

Contact us on 07715 011 323 or email ronhaines@opa.org.uk.

Date                               Time                 Venue                                                     
Wednesday 8th May 2019 14:00 - 16:00 Charles Neville Room, Peacehaven Town Council Offices, Meridian Centre, BN10 8BB
Wednesday 10th July 2019 14:00 - 16:00 Charles Neville Room, Peacehaven Town Council Offices, Meridian Centre, BN10 8BB
Wednesday 9th October 2019 14:00 - 16:00 Charles Neville Room, Peacehaven Town Council Offices, Meridian Centre, BN10 8BB
Wednesday 11th December 2019 14:00 - 16:00 The Main Hall, Peacehaven Town Council Offices, Meridian Centre, BN10 8BB


Venue Address

Peacehaven Town Council Offices

Meridian Centre

Meridian Way

BN10 8BB




About us

Who we are
Brighton OPA support group is made up of a mixture of current and former patients, their carers and close family members and friends. Patients may be at any stage of treatment, from an individual who has only been diagnosed recently through to someone who underwent surgery several years (or indeed decades) ago. Our group members (both male and female) come from a wide range of backgrounds and occupations, and all have very different stories to tell. We all have one thing in common however, and that is we all aim to help and support each other, very much employing the ethos of the OPA - 'former patients helping current patients'. We are also very lucky in that representatives from The Royal Sussex County Hospital regularly attend our meetings and we are truly grateful to them for their continued support and advice. Our aim is to bring you a Guest Speaker at every meeting, they may be an Upper GI Surgeon, Upper GI Specialist Nurse, Dietician, or Therapist. 

Our aim
We aim to help patients (and their families) pre and post treatment by offering support and guidance from those who have been in a similar situation themselves. We also aim to inform GPs concerning the symptoms of the disease and the nature of postoperative care required. In addition to the national objectives of the OPA, we also hope to conduct a number of regional awareness initiatives, plans for which will be discussed at future meetings.

Meeting Structure
Our meetings are very informal. Each meeting typically lasts for 2 hours and gives attendees an opportunity to hear the latest news, share their experiences, and learn from others. There is no obligation for anyone to speak publicly (your level of participation is completely up to you). Going forward, we also hope to be able to offer inspiring and engaging presentations on a wide range of topics, by a number of carefully selected guest speakers. There are local cafe's for those who wish to stay on and chat after the meeting.

How do I know when the next meeting is taking place?
Details of forthcoming meetings will be displayed on this page and will be posted or E-mailed to a mailing list of group members by our Secretary. If you would like to be added to this list, please contact us at the address at the bottom of this page. Where possible (to save on postage and administration costs) we would prefer to contact members by E-mail.

Can anyone attend?
Yes absolutely. We welcome patients from across the South Coast of England. We also welcome visitors from further afield, including representatives from other OPA support groups. You do not have to be a patient to attend (you may be a partner, carer, friend or close family member for example). In fact we positively encourage non-patients to attend. Feedback from attendees suggests that carers (usually spouses or partners) looking after their loved ones can often learn a great deal from other carers (answers to questions such as "Is this symptom normal?" for example). We would also encourage GPs and medical professionals of all levels to attend.

How much does it cost?
Our meetings are absolutely free to attend and there are no 'membership' fees, although we do ask attendees for a small (voluntary) donation to cover the cost of tea/coffee & biscuits and venue hire (where applicable). Any additional leisure activities organised by the group may incur an additional charge, however we will notify attendees of any costs prior to organising an event, and participation is optional.

What if I don't feel well enough to attend?
As former patients, we fully understand the difficulties you may be undergoing as a patient... be they physical, psychological or both. Whilst you might not feel like talking about cancer, wherever possible, we would encourage you to attend, as we are confident you will find our meetings both supportive and informative. From gaining tips on treatments or diet, to knowing how to deal with some of the symptoms, you may be surprised at what you can learn by talking to another patient. You can also take comfort knowing that you are not going through the experience alone and that there are others who you can turn to for help, guidance and support. If you are too unwell to attend in person, please feel free to send someone else on your behalf (e.g spouse, friend, or family member).

Previous Meetings

If you would like to view the notes of some of our previous meetings, you may do this here:

July 2014 Meeting Notes

October 2014 Meeting Notes

November 2014 Meeting Notes

April 2015 Meeting Notes

October 2015 Meeting Notes

November 2015 Meeting Notes

March 2016 Meeting Notes

May 2016 Meeting Notes

July 2016 Meeting Notes


Meeting 26th November 2014

At this meeting our members enjoyed Christmas Lunch and Carol singing alongside pianist Coryn Roberts. You can find the full notes from this meeting above.


News Updates

Please click here for our June News update.


Group Administration

Your OPA South Coast Group Committee is comprised of a small team who work exceptionally hard to make sure meetings suit your needs. The Committee meets prior to each group meeting to plan the venue, timing, guest speakers, and general schedule. Future group events will also be arranged by the Committee.

Feedback is encouraged from group members and the Committee use this to ensure you get what you want from your session.

Current Committee Members

Ron Haines Branch Leader & Treasurer
Mick Symes                            Committee Member & Chairman                                                
Verena Smith Committee Member & Deputy Chairman
Graham Hay Committee Member & Secretary
Steve Crowhurst Committee Member & Events Organiser
Sheila Symes, Mick Symes, Betty Morley  Committee Members & Raffles Organisers
Ann Osmond Committee Member
Peter Moore-Mulcahy Committee Member
Don Yelf Committee Member


Helpful Links

Macmillan Cancer Support                http://www.macmillan.org.uk
Cancer Research UK http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/
Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esophagus
NHS Choices http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer-of-the-oesophagus/Pages/Treatment.aspx
Peacehaven Town Council http://www.peacehavencouncil.co.uk/


Thank you's

16 donations have been received totalling £400 in loving memory of Richard (Reg) Banks. Our love and best wishes have been sent to Jenny. 

Getting in touch

If you would like to attend one of our meetings, would like to be added to our mailing list, or have an enquiry specific to the South Coast Group, please contact us for details at ronhaines@opa.org.uk or write to us:

Ron Haines - Branch Leader

OPA South Coast

Barklye Farm

Swife Land


TN21 8UR

Tel: 07715 011323


Jigsaw Pieces with OPA logo



We positively encourage feedback, and we always want to hear your suggestions on how we can make the support group better for you. If you would like to discuss a particular area then please do not hesitate to contact at enquiries@opa.org.uk or by telephone on 0121 704 9860.

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