A BATTLING grandmother who beat two different types of breast cancer has set up a choir of singing survivors of the disease.

Shirley Maudling, chairman of the survivors for Cancer Research UK’s Relay For Life, came up with idea of getting a group together to perform at the fundraising event in July.

The 53-year-old has already assembled a willing team of seven soulful singers but has issued an invitation for anyone who has survived any form of cancer or is currently undergoing treatment to join.

The plan is, after their debut at Relay For Life, the group will offer their services at events across the borough in return for a donation to Cancer Research’s vital work.

Mrs Maudling, from Copford, said: “I initially formed the Colchester Cancer Choir as I had asked the Military Wives Choir to perform at the relay weekend but they weren’t free.

“I jokingly said ‘Let’s form our own one’ and it snowballed from there.

“We are having a great time getting together singing and I would like it to go from strength to strength and become a permanent organisation raising awareness and being a feel good factor to the choir members and the public. We are really looking forward to taking part in Colchester Relay For Life and performing on the day.”

Mother-of-three and grandmother-of-nine Mrs Maudling was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer two years ago.

She had two different types of cancer on each side - one triple negative and the other oestrogen positive.

After a gruelling treatment regime including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy she managed to beat the condition.

She has since dedicated her time to helping support others who are starting out on their journeys with the disease.

She hopes the choir will also act as a support group where members can make new friends and discuss their experiences of the condition.

Tonya Russell was one of the first to sign up.

She said: “I’ve always wanted to be in a choir so being in one for people who have had cancer or are going through it has so much more meaning.

“I look at the choir as an extended support group too.

“I can’t sing for toffee but it’s so much fun having a go.”

Hannah Barnes said the group had already started to help her come to terms with her own experience of cancer.

She said: “Being a member of this choir has had such a positive impact on my emotional well-being.

“I struggle with post cancer anxiety but being part of something so positive after going through such a challenging time has really helped me.

“As awful as having cancer is, without it I wouldn’t have met these wonderful people and I am so grateful to have them in my corner.”

If you’d like to know more about the choir or are interested in joining, contact shirleycochrane@btinternet.com.

To find out more about Relay for Life, which is being staged at the Colchester Garrison Athletics Track on July 27, visit cruk.org/relay.