A SALWAY ASH woman started to volunteer in a charity shop in gratitude for the treatment received by close members of her family who had cancer.
But Sylvia Larder's reasons became much more personal when she was diagnosed with cancer herself.
She was joined at Cancer Research UK's Bridport shop by West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin to call for more people to give their time as volunteers.
Sylvia, who has two grown-up sons and four grandchildren, has worked in the Bridport shop one day a week for the past six years.
She said: "So many members of my family have been treated for cancer.
"I felt I wanted to do something positive after all that had been done for them". Two years ago Sylvia was diagnosed with breast cancer after finding a lump while she was having a shower.
She said: "It came from nowhere.
"I didn't believe it to start with as I did not suffer any pain.
"I didn't want to make a fuss but I was due to see my doctor anyway and mentioned it to her.
"She immediately sent me for tests which confirmed it was cancer".
Sylvia faced a lumpectomy and surgery to remove lymph glands before finishing off her treatment with radiotherapy.
She has since been told she is clear of cancer but has annual check-ups to make sure.
She said: "Cancer can fool you.
"I was unaware I had it.
"Mammograms don't always pick up everything and so women should get anything unusual checked out.
"If we act quickly, there is more chance of being treated success-fully".
As well as wanting to give something back Sylvia also decided to volunteer in the shop to fill in some spare time she had after being widowed.
Mr Letwin urged people to donate items for Cancer Research but also to think about volunteering to help good causes.
He said: "I'm delighted to be supporting my local Cancer Research UK shop and finding out more about the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.
"It's inspirational to meet Sylvia and other volunteers who give up their valuable time to contribute to the smooth running of this busy shop."
Deputy shop manager Carolyn Newnham added: "I love working with volunteers.
"That has to be one of the most rewarding and interesting parts of my job.
"I'm grateful for all their hard work.
"The time they spend here each week makes a huge difference.
"There is always work to be done, and even just a few hours a week helps enormously."
Visit the Bridport shop or cancerresearchuk.org/volunteering or call 0300 123 1861 for more information.