Co-operation in action sees cancer battling teen from Derby reunited with her favourite post-treatment snack

A teenager bravely battling cancer has been reunited with her favourite post-treatment snack – thanks to a social media campaign supported by colleagues and members across Central England Co-operative’s trading area.

Connie May Spencer, from Derby, is currently shielding at home as she receives chemotherapy treatment and the only thing she wants to eat after returning from hospital is Co-op own brand spaghetti hoops.

However, due to the impact of the Coronavirus and lockdown restrictions, stocks have been in short supply and the 17-year-old and her family have been unable to get hold of any.

Step forward Central England Co-op Membership and Community Council (MCC) Member Joanna West and Society President Elaine Dean who mobilised colleagues from across the Society and hundreds more via social media to ensure the 17-year-old was able to enjoy her favourite snack during this difficult time.

Thanks to the combined efforts of all involved, the mammoth search uncovered a full box of spaghetti hoops which have now been delivered to Connie May to enjoy.

Elaine Dean said: “Connie is very poorly so when we heard that she couldn’t find the one thing she loves to eat we knew we had to jump into action.

“Our brilliant MCC Joanna spent two days visiting several Central England Co-op stores across the area and asking people on social media but sadly kept finding that everywhere had sold out.

“I then got in contact with our Head of Distribution, Robin Farrell, to look into this but he was also drawing a blank.

“However, Robin later called back to say he had found 44 tins at a neighbouring co-op, Heart of England, and that they were on their way to Connie.

“Connie was over the moon to get her favourite snack and thank you to everyone who helped us in this search for their ‘co-oppy’ spirit.”

Connie is currently studying for A-levels in Maths, Economics and Psychology at Littleover Sixth Form.

She is also the City of Derby’s Youth Mayor, a role which means attending meetings at the council, attending regional and national events representing the young people in Derby and getting the voices of young people in Derby heard.

In January, she was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma and since then has been undertaking intense chemotherapy.

She said: “It’s been hard - very hard. At first I tried to keep life as normal as possible, I attended sixth form as much as I could and still attended all of my prior commitments. As chemotherapy has gone on my side effects have accumulated and each day gets a little harder. I’m proud to say though I only five days of chemo left and then this nightmare I’m in will hopefully be over.

“I find myself stronger as a person and more appreciative of the little things in life; never will I ever moan about a sniffly nose or dodgy cough again!

“The campaign to find some spaghetti hoops came about when someone from Central England Co-op spotted a post on Facebook by mum. Everyone at the Co-op got involved and they didn’t give up.

“I cannot thank everyone who joined in on this little quest enough for helping me get hold of my favourite snack – it certainly put a smile on my face during this uncertain time as spaghetti hoops have really all I’ve been able to eat properly since chemo due to my sore mouth and taste buds.

“My local Central England Co-op has been great during all of this and all of my treatment – the whole Society has left a personal touch that will forever be in my heart.”

Connie’s mum Kate has worked for Central England Co-op for 24 years and now serves her local community as a Funeral Director in Derby.

Kate said: “My daughter is an inspiration to us all and I am so proud that the company I work for would go to such lengths to bring a smile to her face.”



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About Central England Co-operative


Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral, travel and property investment.


Co-operatives have always been there for their communities; they were formed to protect them and help them flourish. 


Our 7,900 colleagues who serve Members and customers work hard to ensure that co-operative values, principles and spirit flow through everything we do to help support and improve our local communities.


Owned by hundreds of thousands of Members, we have over 430 trading outlets across 16 counties including West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. 


We are proud of our reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.


We invest a percentage of our trading profit into local communities through our Community Dividend Fund scheme, have donated over £1.3 million to our corporate charity partner Dementia UK and also operate a pioneering food redistribution partnership with FareShare Midlands so unsold food goes to those in need.


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Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle


Phone - 01543 421390


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