RAISING A CUP FOR CHARITY – Maggie Dale, (fourth from the right) owner of the Inn In the Park in Pinewood Road, Branksome Park battled her way back from cancer and is now helping a local cancer charity to support other families.
Innkeeper Maggie’s cancer battle stirs support for local charity
An Innkeeper from Poole has told how she was diagnosed with breast cancer just weeks after agreeing to host an event for a local cancer charity.
Former jazz singer Maggie Dale, who owns the Inn In the Park in Pinewood Road, learned she had breast cancer last August after a routine mammogram.
She had just agreed to hold a fundraising event for The Dorset Cancer Care Foundation (DCCF).
Maggie explained: “I was absolutely stunned to learn I had cancer.
“I regularly check my breasts and thought I was fine. But I was called back after the mammogram and as soon as the nurse examined me, she said: “Oh yes, there’s the lump!” which goes to show just how important mammograms are.”
Maggie owns the Inn In the Park with her husband Darren.
She said: “After getting over the initial shock of the diagnosis my next thought was: “How am I going to run my business?
“I am self-employed with a big mortgage and Darren and I have to work every day to keep the Inn running and to pay ever-our rising bills. And as with many hospitality owners the last few years have been particularly stressful for us because of the effects of Covid.
“I literally had my surgery on the Monday and was up to serve breakfast the next day.”
Maggie also went on to have radiotherapy. She is now in remission but must follow a lengthy drug therapy regime.
She said: “Luckily, we caught the cancer early and it was not aggressive.
“Running the hotel and the support of our customers has helped me get through this and I feel incredibly lucky to still be here – and that’s why I also want to do everything I can to help The Dorset Cancer Care Foundation (DCCF).”
The DCCF was started by three local nurses from Poole in 2013 and through events organised by its supporters has raised £672k which has been awarded in grants to support 773 local families experiencing cancer.
Maggie continued: “My Dad died of cancer and my mum has had cancer. My sister has also had breast cancer.
“After my own brush with cancer it has only proved to me how vital this charity is for local people.
“Quite by coincidence, I had already agreed to host a quiz for the charity before my diagnosis. We held this in May and raised £900 for DCCF.
“We’ve now also just hosted the charity’s monthly coffee morning and that has raised a further £600 thanks to its supporters and some of our fantastic regulars.
“The charity tells me this money will go straight out to families who need it and that’s fantastic to know.
“I feel extremely lucky to have survived cancer, hugely thankful to the NHS and very proud to support the DCCF and Darren and I and our wonderful regulars will be doing more to support the charity in the future.”
Maggie’s friend and long-standing DCCF supporter Judy White said: “Maggie jumped at the chance of supporting the DCCF and little did we know, but she was about to face her own battle with cancer.
“We are all so proud of the bravery and amazing sense of humour she has shown throughout.
“She is a perfect landlady because she brings people together and that has been shown brilliantly in the amazing amount of money she has raised for the DCCF by just two events.
“We hope other businesses will be inspired by Maggie to support us too and in doing so help Dorset families who are experiencing severe hardship because of cancer.”