BLOOD cancer support charity Leukaemia Care has celebrated its 50th anniversary with the help of a Royal visitor.

The Duchess of Gloucester arrived to unveil a plaque marking the milestone and then greeted cancer survivors and staff members.

Ellie Philpotts, 23, from Kidderminster, was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at 15, treated at Worcester Royal Hospital and supported by Leukaemia Care.

Ellie said: “I feel privileged to be part of this event - the charity work so hard to raise awareness - what they do is so important and is making such a big difference.”

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Pete Ives, one of the founding members of Leukaemia Care, said: “Fifty years ago today a group of parents sat in a room and created what was then the only charity of its kind, it is now successful and saving lives and it’s just fantastic to see.

“When we started the charity there was little information or guidance about the disease - families including my own were left without hope.

Zack Pemberton-Whitley, patient advocacy director at Leukaemia Care, said: “We work hard to give the patients a voice and to campaign for awareness.

“Our campaign we are running currently called SPOT Leukaemia, which is aimed at recognising the symptoms and securing an early diagnosis.”

Retired consultant physician, Richard Taylor, president of Leukaemia Care said: “When someone is diagnosed with a malignant disease, they want someone to talk to about it - they don’t want to burden family members and this is where we come in, providing a listening service.”

Mayor of Worcester, Allah Ditta, said: “I'm very grateful to be here at this event, seeing the charity get the support that it needs.

The charity was registered in 1969 as a support network for parents whose children had leukaemia.

Over the years, it expanded to help anybody affected by a diagnosis of blood cancer which is the fifth most common cancer in the UK.