The Cancer Laryngectomee Trust

The foundation of the Cancer Laryngectomee Trust

In 1979, my father, Sydney Norgate had a laryngectomy for throat cancer. He had spent all his life telling me that Charities were for people who couldn’t work hard enough or wanted someone else to do things for them. However, after the operation, he realised very quickly that sometimes, everyone needs a helping hand. He decided to start the Cancer Laryngectomee Trust and spent the rest of his life helping others who were living who had a laryngectomy to try to improve their quality of life.

The Charity began in 1984 with three of his daughters (Wendy, Carole and Ros) as the trustees. Sydney wrote and published a book Laryngectomy is Not a Tragedy and the book is still given free of charge to anyone who has had a laryngectomy. Its purpose is to help people to speak again. At first, the Charity was run from Enderleigh where Sydney lived with Lucy (his long-suffering and very dedicated wife). Together they dealt with correspondence, organised talks, and took part in Speak Week and the Yorkshire TV Telethon in 1988. They also had people who had had the surgery to stay with them or visit them so they could help them regain their speech. Playing dominoes at the kitchen table was a favourite way of encouraging people to relax and find their new voice. In 1994, Sydney passed away but the Charity continued and at that time had 1,510 members.

(Image One: Sydney Norgate, founder. Image Two: Original Trustees Wendy Thompson, Ros Oswald and Carole Stainton with Calderdale Mayor )

How the Cancer Laryngectomee Trust has helped people with a laryngectomy

From 1994 to 2002 the Charity was run by an office manager. The work done included:

  • Making grants to Laryngectomees for purposes as varied as help with items of clothing or bedding, medical equipment for items unavailable on the NHS, holidays for Laryngectomees, outings for Laryngectomee groups and assisting with training grants
  • Supplying copies of the book “Laryngectomy is not a tragedy” free of charge to Laryngectomees and members of the medical profession involved in their care and arranging for it to be reprinted
  • Talking to carers who needed support as they came to terms with the diagnosis
  • Acting as a signpost to organizations who could also offer help such as Macmillan and NALC
  • Fundraising to ensure the continuation of the Charity with the main event being the annual race night
  • Helping with information about benefit claims and providing information about medical aids and prescriptions
  • Providing information to enable talks to be given to others such as student nurses
  • Organising and funding rehabilitative functions for Laryngectomees, their carers and medical professionals
  • Sending a Newsletter three times a year to members at their home addresses. We now send two.

(Image Three: A picture of Sydney Norgate’s book: Laryngectomy is not a tragedy. Image Four: Launch of the 2nd edition of Laryngectomy is not a tragedy )

What the Cancer Laryngectomee Trust is doing now

In 2002, the manager wanted to move on and so the trustees decided to carry out the work of the Charity themselves, with Carole doing all the day to day work. Additional work included:

  • The establishment of a website for the Charity at 
  • Involvement in the British 10K London Run which is an invaluable fundraising opportunity and a way to spread the word about the existence of the Charity
  • Making a Radio 4 Appeal for the Charity with Martin Jarvis who also agreed to become a patron of the charity
  • Attending seminars held by professionals such as the Rotherham Seminar attended in 2004 and the Patient Focus Group meeting in Nottingham in 2011
  • Holding a video dressage competition to raise funds for the charity
  • Assisting with the development and distribution of a travel guide for Laryngectomees

In 2012 the trustees decided to bring Sydney’s book up to date. his original text was not changed but two further chapters were added, the work being done by his granddaughter Dr Nicola Oswald who had qualified as a doctor. In 2020, the Charity published a new book to help young people whose friend or relative has had a laryngectomy to understand more about the surgery. The booklet is called The Story of Funny Grandad and is beautifully illustrated.

(Image Five: A picture of the The Story of Funny Grandad. Image Six: Members at the Summer Lunch in Blackpool )

Sadly one of the Trustees, Wendy, passed away in 2021 but the work of the Charity continues. The Charity is there to help people who have had a laryngectomy. Here are the ways it can help:

  • Provide a copy of Laryngectomy is not a Tragedy
  • Provide a copy of The Story of Funny Grandad
  • Provide a copy of the Laryngectomy Travel Guide
  • Make a small financial grant to help with outgoings including items of clothing or bedding, medical equipment unavailable on the NHS, holidays for laryngectomees or training grants
  • Provide financial help for a social function for laryngectomees, their carers and health professionals
  • Provide information about medical aids and prescriptions
  • Provide information to enable talks to be given to trainees who will work in medical and care setting

Contact the Cancer Laryngectomee Trust

Here are the contact details for the Charity:

Cancer Laryngectomee Trust
PO Box 618
West Yorkshire


Charity registration 326653

We are here to help!

Ros Oswald,
Charity Trustee.