AN EAST Lothian publisher and active community member has told of the “inspiration” she found in other cancer patients after she was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer.

Pauline Jaffray, founder and editor of East Lothian Life magazine, was diagnosed with the illness “out of the blue” last year.

But her disease prompted members of the Light Aircraft Association to give more than £700 raised via their annual fly-in to East Fortune Airfield to a cancer charity on her behalf.

Pauline, who lives in Belhaven and organises the popular monthly Haddington Farmers’ Market, said: “I was putting together the autumn edition of East Lothian Life, and I was at the farmers’ market and I just didn’t feel right.

“I couldn’t put my finger on how I felt and that day at the farmers’ market I had to go and sit down, which was so unlike me.

“The illness came out of the blue.”

After some time in hospital, Pauline was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

She has since received chemotherapy and is now on continuing medication.

Pauline told the Courier: “I met so many nice and inspirational people through all my treatment and they’ve inspired me so much.

“They’re so cheerful, so caring. And the doctors and nurses are so dedicated.”

The annual fly-in to East Fortune Airfield, which is owned by Pauline’s husband David Pate, is organised by East Lothian pilot Keith Griggs.

This year’s fly-in saw more than 14 aircraft, including Keith’s refurbished Piel Emeraude CP301A, land at the airfield on August 30.

A barbecue and raffle for the pilots raised more than £700.

A different cause benefits from the money raised each year and, this year, Keith asked David to select a charity.

Pauline said: “When Keith was talking about doing this event, David said: ‘I would like it to go to ovarian cancer because my wife has stage 3 ovarian cancer.’

“I then spoke to my consultant and said: ‘We’ve got this money coming in – can you recommend a cancer charity?’”

The money has been donated to the Nicola Murray Foundation (NMF), which is based at the Western General Hospital, in partnership with the University of Edinburgh, and headed by consultant Professor Gourlay.

The charity raises awareness of HNPCC (Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer) syndrome and its link to ovarian cancer, and funds research into it.

And Pauline, who maintains her role as minute secretary of East Lammermuir Community Council and secretary of Dunbar Trades’ Association, had some advice.

She said: “If you don’t feel well, and you don’t know what the matter is, you should still go to the doctor because I kept putting it off.

“If you start to feel not yourself, go and get checked out. It might be that you have the onset of a cold or something but it’s worthwhile going to get yourself checked out.”

She also thanked all those in the community who had sent her messages of support.

“My family and friends have been terrific. They’ve all had a terrible shock and they’ve all been marvellous,” she added.