Shoreham business makes cancer survivor’s van trip dream a reality

Emma Nicholls and James Cannom by the van SUS-170905-120716001
Emma Nicholls and James Cannom by the van SUS-170905-120716001

A cancer survivor’s dream to travel the country in a campervan has come true – thanks to the help of a Shoreham business.

James Cannom, who runs a campervan rental company J4Campers with his wife, Zoe, in Tarragon Way, Shoreham, was first contacted by Emma Nicholls last summer.

Emma was diagnosed with non Hogdkin’s Lymphoma two years ago and, after finishing treatment, wanted to undertake a two-week fundraising tour around the UK to raise awareness of the charity MacMillan.

James said: “When Emma got in touch, it tugged at the heartstrings.

“It struck a bit of a chord because I lost a friend many years ago to the same thing.”

He wanted to help but, as a small family-run business, he was unable to offer a van for her to use free of charge at the time.

Determined to help make her dream come true, the family asked if she would defer the trip until May.

Emma agreed and this Saturday she finally sets off on her country-wide adventure.

The 37-year-old, who lives in Birmingham, said she was ‘really happy’ James and Zoe agreed to help, after companies closer to home turned her down.

“I wouldn’t be able to do it otherwise,” she said.

“It’s the first time I’ve done anything like this and I can’t wait.”

The former prison officer lost her career when she became ill.

“It’s difficult, but you just carry on,” she said.

She wants her tour to highlight the invaluable support of MacMillan nurses, who help her when she struggles ‘not just with feeling ill, but with feeling down in the dumps’.

On Saturday, Emma met James and Zoe for the first time at an open day in support of the trip at their Henfield workshop.

Emma is also grateful to VW Heritage, based in Dolphin Road, Shoreham, which has paid for the pitch and fuel fees for the trip.