Welcome to the OPA Leeds Support Group

Welcome to the OPA Support Group for Leeds and the surrounding area. 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 0113 226 7250 or email sol@soltaylor.net 

Time Date Location Notes
The Club Lounge
Headingley Golf Club
Back Church Lane
LS16 8DW

Harrogate Drop-in Support Sessions

We hold regular 'drop-in' sessions for both patients and carers, where we offer information, support and guidance. These are completely free, and there is usually no need to book an appointment or confirm attendance. The sessions are held at the Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre (adjacent to the Harrogate District Hospital) and light refreshments are provided. These will be taking place on the third Thursday of each month throughout 2016.

The Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre
1 Willaston Crescent

Tel. 01423 55 7317


Prince Charles and Camilla drop in to OPA Session in Harrogate

David and Barbara Shreeve organise a monthly drop in session for members of the Leeds Regional OPA at the Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan
Centre at Harrogate Hospital. It is an informal occasion and gives members the opportunity to discuss issues in a relaxed and friendly environment. 
Part of the session is to enjoy light refreshments home baking, local cheeses and pies.

At the drop in session on Thursday 18 February members were delighted to welcome HRH Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall.
Prince Charles is the Patron of Macmillan Cancer Care, a key partner of the OPA,  that provides assistance in awareness campaigns,
accommodation for meetings, literature, training and online information for oesophageal cancer patients. The Royal visitors were
very interested in the work of the OPA and particularly in how patients and carers support one another.

John Taylor, Chairman of the Leeds Regional Group had the opportunity to speak at length to Prince Charles on the nature of the disease and
the effects of the treatment.  Prince Charles was also interested in the impact on the carer and questioned carers on their experiences.
Joan Bardsey, who had her surgery over 10 years ago, brings local pork pies to every session and was delighted when Prince Charles accepted her last pie.

View the full gallery here

Patient Pathway Update

In 2015, we were invited by Consultant Surgeon, Mr Jeremy Hayden and Upper GI Cancer Nurse Specialist, Sharon Huntley (of St James's Hospital Leeds)
to discuss our experiences as patients. Reflecting on 'The Surgical Pathway' we were asked to recollect our diagnosis, treatment and subsequent care,
highlighting what we felt worked well, as well as suggesting areas for improvement. Our views have been summarised into a written report which can be
viewed by clicking on the link below:-



About us

Who we are

The Leeds 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 though, 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 St James's Institute of Oncology (including a dedicated team of Upper GI Nurses) regularly attend our meetings and we are truly grateful to them for their continued support and advice.

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 post-operative 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 1-2 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. After the main meeting has ended, you are welcome to stay and talk to other patients (either in groups, or on a one to one basis).

  • Tea and coffee
  • Welcome by the Group Chair
  • Update from the Treasurer
  • Latest news and developments (e.g. new research findings and treatments)
  • Guest Speaker
  • Questions from the floor
  • AOB

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 North of England, with attendees currently travelling from all parts of Yorkshire and beyond. 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). Additional food and drink is available at the Club bar, and bar bills will need to be settled individually. 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).

Group Administration

Group Committee
Our Group meetings are hosted by our Chair, John Taylor, and are organised by our Secretary, Sol Taylor (John's wife). All committee members work on a voluntary basis.

John Taylor
John Taylor
Margaret Nickels
Margaret Nickels/Telephone Support Coordinator
Vice Chair
Sol Taylor
Sol Taylor
Group Secretary & Carer Support
Peter Nelson
Peter Nelson
Group Treasurer


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