Warsop community champion on Covid-19 recovery, cancer treatment and hopes for 2022

Tony Hubbard is well known in Warsop for his selfless work in the community and efforts to better the area he grew up in, but 2021 has been a bit of a rollercoaster for the self-employed joiner.

Tony began 2021 by taking part in a number of community projects, such as helping to build a new community park earlier this year but, after visiting his GP in the summer, he was given a shock bowel cancer diagnosis, and the community rallied around to to help the 40-year-old cope with the financial strain of being out of work for months.

In a further blow, Tony contracted Covid-19 while recovering from surgery to remove part of his bowel, spending just ten days at home before being rushed back into hospital, facing a gruelling seven days being treated for covid pneumonia, before also developing sepsis and medical emphysema.

Coronavirus weakened his immune system, which meant his cancer treatment faced a further setback as doctors said he was too weak to continue treatment – fortunately his health has since improved and he eventually began his chemotherapy on December 16, which he describes as a ‘humbling’ experience.

Tony pictured with his wife Leonie and children Evie and Roman.

He explained: “It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster.

“It has been a really humbling experience sharing a room with people who have been given an expiry date – the lovely lady next to me was also on her first session, but unfortunately hers is only to prolong the time she has left.

"I almost felt guilty sitting amongst people who had lost their hair, and around people a lot worse off than me, like I didn’t belong there.

“All in all though, it wasn’t a bad experience at all – the staff are amazing, the seats are comfy, and so far I feel okay.”

Tony pictured with councillor Debra Barlow earlier this year after the completion of the initial phase of the Swallows Green development

Tony has also been extremely humbled by the fundraising efforts of his sister and brother-in-law Nichola and Craig Willetts.

Craig came up with the idea of raising money to take the pressure off the family’s finances whilst Tony’s recovery was prolonged, and Nichola spearheaded a fundraising campaign which saw thousands raised for Tony, his wife and two young children.

Tony heads into 2022 by continuing with his chemotherapy, which will take him into the Spring, where he then hopes to continue his community efforts.

He already has a number of projects lined up as he works alongside the Parish council to organise events and continue the refurbishment of the Swallows Green Community Park.

The dog show was the first event held on the new community green.

2021 saw a patch of wasteland being repurposed and made into a functional space, with a stone path, flower beds, waste bins and a picnic bench being installed.

The park has been used for a number of events including a dog show attended by hundreds, and a successful Christmas event on December 19 which raised a further £450 for the community fund.

The Swallows Green Community group will meet in the new year to discuss ideas for 2022.

There are already plans for a second dog show, and the planting of a walk-through community orchard, along with further seating areas and fundraising for more equipment.

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