You’re all invited to the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

It would take more than a global health pandemic to stop the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning in its tracks.

By Julie Currie
Saturday, 5th September 2020, 12:30 pm
Lapping up the treats...even your pets can get in on the World's Biggest Coffee Morning on September 25 for Macmillan! (Pic: Phil Wilkinson)
Lapping up the treats...even your pets can get in on the World's Biggest Coffee Morning on September 25 for Macmillan! (Pic: Phil Wilkinson)

However, it would also be fair to say that Macmillan Cancer Support has never needed your support more.

Like many other charities, its fundraising efforts have been impacted by the virus.

And plans to celebrate the event’s 30th anniversary in style have had to be shelved.

The big 30...sadly Macmillan had to discard plans for its anniversary year. However, it hopes supporters will make it a birthday to remember.

So the charity is calling on everyone in Scotland to stage a coffee morning and raise funds, while staying safe.

Jan Forrest, Macmillan’s head of fundraising in Scotland, said: “We had big plans for our 30th birthday which had to be shelved.

“Our campaign message now is that nothing can stop a Macmillan Coffee Morning!

“We still need to raise funds to deliver our services and loyal supporters, who have been taking part for 30 years, are behind us.

A feast for the, friends, neighbours and colleagues are being asked to get together to help raise funds while tucking into cake and coffee. What's not to love?

“However, we’re hoping to reach an even wider audience this year.

“Many people with cancer are more in need of help than ever before as they try to cope with not just cancer but the additional stresses coronavirus has caused.

“We have been doing everything we can to support people but while demand for our services is greater than ever due to coronavirus, we are facing a significant drop in our income.

“While lots of face to face fundraising events have had to be cancelled, the strength of coffee morning is there’s no set way of taking part.

Janice Preston, head of partnerships in Scotland, said: "Hell could freeze over and our coffee morning would still go ahead. For while we’ve come a long way since 1990, we’ve still got more work to do."

“Maybe last year you had 50 of your closest friends pack into your house for coffee and cakes. This year, why not get them together online or challenge each other to a sponsored baking competition?

“While Covid means we can’t do things the same way, we’re determined not to let it stop the 30th year of Coffee Morning and we hope people across Scotland will join us.

“People have been really innovative during lockdown so we hope they’ll pull out all the stops.

“It is the world’s biggest coffee morning – people all over the world can get together and enjoy the event with their friends here in Scotland.

“Last year, 80,000 hosts raised £27 million, around half of which were held in workplaces.

“A lot of companies aren’t yet back to normal so we need as many people as possible to get behind us and make sure that we have lots to celebrate, regardless of Covid, in our 30th year.

“It’s something nice to look forward to and a chance to make connections we might have lost in lockdown.”

When the first coffee morning was held in 1990, Maggie Thatcher was running the country, Maria McKee’s Show Me Heaven was top of the charts and Scotland had just beaten England at the rugby.

Every year since, thousands of people have tucked into cakes and enjoyed a cuppa with pals, neighbours and colleagues.

Janice Preston knows how much of a difference it has made. Back in 1990 she was a fresh-faced nurse at the Beatson Centre in Glasgow, where she worked for 17 years – seeing first hand how funds raised helped cancer patients.

She joined Macmillan 17 years ago and is now head of partnerships in Scotland.

“I had only been qualified for a year and was working on the Nightingale Ward when the first coffee morning was held,” she recalled.

“Back then, you either did well or you didn’t and there were fewer treatment choices, with only a few specialist nurses – not everyone had one.

“The ward would empty at the weekend as patients who travelled from further afield left to go home.

“Now, beds aren’t taken up in the same way and wards are busy every day.

“The drugs are a lot better now too and treatments are far more person-centred, with teams of people working to help patients.

“There was only one treatment for breast cancer then; now there are specific treatments for different types of breast cancer.

“We’ve come a long way in transforming cancer care with the help and support of the public, who fund most of our work, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do, including rolling out our Improving the Cancer Journey programme across the country.

“The aim is to ensure people get wraparound care – both practical and emotional support – from the very start of their journey.

“In five years times, it should be established in every area in Scotland.”

Simply by hosting a coffee morning, you could help Macmillan lead the charge in fighting cancer and help patients for the next 30 years...and beyond.

For it’s thanks to people raising funds that the charity is able to do so much.

Some 98 per cent of its funding is raised by people in communities across the country – and the coffee morning is the charity’s biggest annual earner.

Janice said: “The coffee morning has grown every year since 1990 but this has definitely been our most challenging year.

“Hell could freeze over and our coffee morning would still go ahead though!

“Because the simple truth is that, while we’ve come a long way since 1990, we’ve still got more work to do.

“We can only do that with the help, support and generosity of the public.”

This year’s coffee morning is scheduled for Friday, September 25.

Usually, Janice would spend the day visiting other people’s events. However, this year, with the help of her neighbours in Anniesland, she will be hosting the Strathcona Garden party.

“It will be the first one I’ve helped organise,” added Janice. “One of my neighbours is an events organiser though so she’s been doing all the hard work while furloughed!

“I can’t attend any other coffee mornings this year so I wanted to do my bit.”

Throughout the pandemic, Macmillan has been supporting people with cancer. As well as ensuring its support line stayed open, the charity set up a new Telephone Buddies service.

It also upgraded its online community, a space where people with cancer and their loved ones get together at any time of the day or night to talk about their experiences and support each other.

Macmillan’s community-based services, from benefits advice to emotional support, have also continued – albeit moving from face to face to online or over the phone.

Covid-19 may mean people can’t pack into houses, village halls or community centres as they have before for the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.

However, people are dreaming up their own ways to get involved – from online get-togethers to intimate events with friends, family and colleagues.

While the official coffee morning is September 25, supporters can hold their event on a day that suits or lend support by buying a selection of Macmillan products in M&S food halls.

To sign up today, visit

Fighting cancer for more than 100 years, with your support

For more than 100 years, Macmillan Cancer Support has been there for people with cancer when they needed help and support the most.

Today is no exception. Sadly, cancer has not gone anywhere and while it’s still a factor Macmillan plans to be there.

However, the charity can’t do it on its own. It needs your help so it can keep providing physical, financial and emotional support to the millions of people who count on its support.

Raising just £10 could help run the vital phone service for cancer patients. Welfare rights advisers on the Macmillan Support Line help people affected by cancer claim benefits they are entitled to.

£30 could pay for 50 copies of cancer information booklets. The booklets are one of Macmillan’s most popular resources, offering advice and information on sources of support to people affected by cancer, who experience a wide range of emotions including fear, loneliness, and anger.

£60 could pay for a Macmillan grant that buys a good quality liquidiser for someone who can’t eat solid food as a result of their cancer or treatment.

And £150 could fund a Macmillan grant that helps to buy new clothes for someone experiencing a change in weight or body shape while undergoing cancer treatment, helping them feel better about the way they look.

To donate, fundraise or volunteer call 0300 1000 200 or visit