‘I love Paris in the springtime…’ goes the song. We were certainly blessed with a magnificent springtime when we held the first National Cancer Support France Presidents’ Conference in May.

The conference, which was opened by Mrs Pamela Deegan, Consular Regional Operations Manager, was held in the ballroom of the British Ambassador’s residence, a beautiful oasis of calm in the capital city. Delegates from ten of our Affiliated Associations, along with the National Bureau held workshops and discussions over two half-days.

We were able to build on the good relationships between Associations with discussions ranging from partnerships and marketing plans, skills-sharing, future planning, general data protection regulations and how we support our volunteers, amongst other subjects.

Our facilitator, who had a background in medical publications and marketing, ably kept us on track in both subject and timings, and our speakers and session leaders produced interesting and thought-provoking sessions. There was also a presentation from Consular Services by staff from the British Consulates of Paris, Bordeaux and Marseille and the information shared between us and them, and the links we have forged, will help us in going forward with our Association’s future.

On the evening of the first day of the conference, we were invited to a reception by Dame Menna Rawlings, the British Ambassador to France and her husband Mark, in the wonderful gardens of the official Residence. Dame Menna addressed those present with a kind and supportive speech recognising the work that we, and all our volunteers do to support vulnerable English-speakers in France. We even had a mention on Twitter! Menna Rawlings tweeted, “Proud to support Cancer Support France, a dedicated group of volunteers who support English-speakers in France, affected by cancer. Thank you to Sue and the Team for all you do.”

The Conference was closed by Mr Theo Rycroft, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy, who echoed Dame Menna’s kind words and thanked us again for the work that we all do.

My thanks, and also from all of all those present, have been passed officially to Dame Menna and indeed, to all the team at the British Embassy, the Ambassador’s Residence and Consular Services for their kind welcome and their support of Cancer Support France.

Sue Smith – May 2023