Monday 4 March 2024
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Councillor returns to work after battle with cancer

An District Councillor was given a round of applause during a council meeting following a battle with cancer he had kept private for more than six months.

Councillor Jim Blagden (Ash Ind) was diagnosed with leukaemia last year and underwent treatment at Nottingham’s City Hospital.

But the councillor, who represents Hucknall Central on Ashfield District Council, has confirmed he is now in remission after his treatment was a success.

During treatment he continued his work as a councillor outside meetings and says he turned the waiting room at the hospital into his council offices.

However, he added he did not tell a single constituent about the cancer battle and continued to do what he could to resolve their issues “without burdening them with mine”.

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Giving his first speech since his recovery at the full council meeting on Thursday 3 March 3, Cllr Blagden said his diagnosis came shortly after the death of his grandson.

He thanked everybody in the chamber for their support and praised the NHS for his treatment.

He said: “Can I thank everyone, and I mean everyone, in this chamber for their best wishes after my fight with leukaemia.

“When I was diagnosed seven months ago it was a complete shock, it wasn’t long after the death of my 27-year-old grandson who sadly passed away during lockdown, leaving his wife and children.

“My wife and I were determined to stay strong and, after six months of treatment at the City Hospital, I am now in remission.

“I turned the waiting room at times into my council offices, sometimes I sat with a drip on taking phone calls from residents asking about fly-tipping, anti-social behaviour, and I did this three times a week for 18 weeks.

“My Hucknall colleagues were brilliant and supportive, as were all colleagues, friends and councillors.

“I never told a single constituent I had cancer – they had their problems and it was my job to deal with them, not burden them with mine.

“The NHS staff have been marvellous – when I rang that end of treatment bell I rang it for [my wife], my family who had suffered enough, for my grandson and every single patient at that hospital, and I rang it for Hucknall.”

His speech was met with a round of applause from the chamber.

Cllr David Hennigan (Ind), who represents Central Sutton and New Cross, praised Cllr Blagden and welcomed his recovery.

He said: “Can I just say how wonderful Jim’s speech was, he’s a man who cares deeply for the residents he represents in Hucknall.

“I spoke to Jim just 24 hours after his cancer diagnosis. Jim, as ever, was more interested in fighting for Hucknall’s fair share, he wanted to know how the plans were going for Hucknall’s food and drink festival. Thank you, Jim.”

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