Cancer charity is seeking volunteers

Lauderdale Rotary Club members  Margo Douglas,Gail Millar, Rosemary Robertson, Pauline Magill and Cheryl Waters hand over a cheque to Jan Beattie from the Lavender Touch.
Lauderdale Rotary Club members Margo Douglas,Gail Millar, Rosemary Robertson, Pauline Magill and Cheryl Waters hand over a cheque to Jan Beattie from the Lavender Touch.

PEOPLE living with cancer are being sought to join a new focus study group being set up to help the Lavender Touch raise badly-needed funds.

The charity reaches its 10th anniversary this year and to mark that, a special appeal has been launched – which is being supported by TheSouthern – to raise funds to expand the service and realise a long-held dream of opening a dedicated Lavender Touch Centre.

Fances McKinnon and Angela Secretan.

Fances McKinnon and Angela Secretan.

Founded in 2003 by Heather Runciman from Lauder, Galashiels photographer Sheila Scott, and award-winning complementary therapist Jan Beattie, from Selkirk, the Lavender Touch has helped more than 2,000 Borders families with its complementary therapy treatments.

These can help alleviate some of the symptoms experienced by those living with cancer, such as insomnia, muscle aches and pains, anxiety, low mood and nausea.

Over the past decade, the Lavender Touch has grown and now boasts 13 therapists and a co-ordinator who works in conjunction with NHS Borders.

Anyone who lives in this region and has cancer is eligible for treatment, as are those who spend most of their time and energy looking after someone living with the disease.

It costs £25,000 per year to run the service and, as well as funds needed to continue this vital work, more cash is needed if the plans for a centre are to become a reality. Already, a design for revolutionary sleepwear to cope with the night-time sweat drenches experienced by many of those with cancer is proving a real success and helping raise money, the charity now wants to be able to sell its own range of aromatherapy products.

They hope these, together with designer Pauline Birse’s sleepwear, will help raise the £150,000 needed to create that specialist facility.

A property has already been identified in the central Borders, which is within easy reach of the BGH, the local Macmillan Centre and the new Margaret Kerr Unit.

This centre will become the focus of The Lavender Touch cancer service in the Borders, taking forward ideas and products to benefit people living with cancer.

However, bringing aromatherapy products to the open market is a long and arduous process involving testing and licensing and a critical initial part is the setting up of a focus group.

Sheila explained: “A Lavender Touch Community Interest Company ( has been set up to work on developing a range of products for cancer patients, based on a background of 10 years’ experience of Lavender Touch aromatherapists.      

“We have received a Lottery grant in order to take our ideas forward, therefore  we  are presently looking for people living with cancer within the Scottish Borders to become involved in a focus group to trial some of our natural  Lavender Touch products.   

“The products need to be tested, trialled and then licensed if we want to sell them and that’s why we need to set up this focus group, for which we will need between 20 and 25 volunteers.

“This focus group will be run by therapists Angela Secretan and Frances McKinnon and for further information on how to become involved, please either telephone Frances on 07966 435484 or email”

Other Lavender Touch news:

z The Lauderdale Rotary Club held its Christmas dinner at the Lauderdale Hotel on Wednesday, January 19.  The Lavender Touch was present to receive a cheque for £1,145 that the club has raised over the past few months from various events, including a craft fair, Lauder Amateur Dramatics Murder Mystery Dinner and a children’s Christmas party.

z The Lavender Touch Charity is keen to hear from anyone, particularly in the central Borders area,  with  recognised massage qualifications who may be interested in working with it. Contact  

z The charity website has been updated with a lot of information on the charity, the service we provide and information for those living with cancer and their families –   

z Every month throughout 2013, TheSouthern will run feature articles in support of the charity and its dream of creating a dedicated centre. We will publish reports and photographs from any fundraising events.