Residents living with cancer are being encouraged to keep active by a specialist team at Great Western Hospital.

A relatively new team at the NHS Trust, the Macmillan Personalised Care Clinical Nurse Specialist Team, have set up what is being described as a "support group with a difference".

Operating under the parkrun umbrella in partnership with cancer charity Move, a team of volunteers, former cancer patients and family members of cancer patients put on the '5K Your Way' run on the last Saturday of every month.

Team lead Michelle Taylor, 55, has explained why cancer patients should take part.

She said: "When we started the service two years, we discovered that quite a lot of research around issues like feeling tired, and feeling anxiety, showed that if cancer patients can move more and sit less, and be more active, they are going to improve and make a better recovery.

"Exercise has enormous benefits for people living with and beyond cancer, it helps with fatigue, help with sleep, and psychological, social and it is really fun.

"I’ve been a cancer nurse of a long time, ten years ago, what would’ve been being said is that you need to rest up, don’t go doing so much."

During the events patients and staff take part to walk, jog, run, volunteer or cheer around the course and afterwards everyone goes for a cup of tea and a catch up.

The initiative is not only aiming to help support people with cancer to ‘move’ more it is also encouraging a social gathering, sharing experiences and meeting new friends.

Relatives of patients are also welcome to go along.

Laura, a patient who has joined 5K Your Way, said: "We did our first Lydiard parkrun at the end of December. It was wet and muddy - we got soaked to the skin but I’m so happy we made it.

"We walked 2.5km - doing one lap instead of two. You don’t have to run at parkrun or go the full distance, it’s free, you’ll be cheered on and you won’t be left behind.

"When you arrive, you’ll meet the organisation’s ambassadors. It’s good to meet others also dealing with cancer and there are health care professionals you can chat to."