Second time round……

No one knows how you will react until you are told that you have cancer, in that minute your world seems to stop, and all you think and want to know is “how long have I got” when you leave the doctors or hospital you suddenly have a different outlook on life and what is important, the ONLY IMPORTANT STUFF you need to think about are FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

My name is Carl Barnard and I am 59 years young, I am a badminton coach and have been for many years now, I was first diagnosed with lung cancer on Christmas Eve 2013 (think they would have waited) 

 I had half of my left lung removed in an 8-hour operation in February 2014, the surgeon knowing I was a coach carried out my operation by keyhole surgery, for which I am still very grateful as I only have a small scar and I was home after 4 days and the recovery went well.  I was back playing and coaching after 2 months, which was remarkable according to the doctors.

In August 2017 I woke one morning with an ulcer on the underneath of my tongue, after trying well known gels nothing seemed to happen, so off to the doctor only to be referred to see my dentist. Trying to get an appointment with them took 7 weeks, by now it had grown, the dentist took one look and referred me to hospital straight away, so off I went. In January 2018 after having many tests and scans, it was confirmed that I had cancer on my tongue and was taken into hospital for immediate surgery. The operation this time took 9.5 hours, they had to remove the front half of my tongue and also had to do a dissection of my neck (cut from ear to ear) and they removed 54 lymph nodes, 2 of which had signs of cancer.

After this operation I had to stay in hospital for 3 weeks as I had 4 drains in my neck and was not allowed to leave until they stopped, then they told me that because the 2 nodes had cancer it was in my best interest to have radiotherapy to make sure all was ok. Unfortunately for me this meant they removed all my teeth due to the damage that could be caused by radiotherapy and I had to have a feeding tube inserted into my stomach in case of any swelling in my mouth, so this meant another 2 operations. These went well and I was only in for 2 days on each occasion.

The R.T was daily for 6 weeks and I was bolted down to a table with a mask that meant that I could not move a muscle.

The R.T finished on FRIDAY 13th (had to be me, didn’t it) the following 2 weeks have been so painful due to the swelling and burns caused by the R.T, but it is now May and I am on the road to recovery. The burns on my neck have almost gone and the swelling in my mouth is going down daily and I am hoping to be eating in the next couple of weeks, as feeding through the tube is not much fun.

I mentioned at the start that family and friends are all you need, my partner Teena has been my rock and has gone through this twice with me now, never complaining and travelling to London daily to see me whilst I was in hospital and my daughter and son in law the same which took them over 5 hours each time to drive, but I got to see my 2 year old granddaughter, so I was very grateful to the pair of them and I’m not one for being able to express my feeling in words, but I’m sure they all  know how much they mean to me.

I feel so lucky and blessed that I seem to have so many friends that care. The places where I coach have been so understanding it is impossible to put into words, after being diagnosed and told that I wouldn’t be able to work for 6 months, I thought that they would just let me go, how wrong I have been.

At Redbridge Performance centre the head coach Martin Lawrence made sure that all the classes that I coached would be covered for me until my return no matter how long it takes and has been in touch constantly checking up on my progress.

At Emerson Eagles Badminton Club the head coach Amanda Austin did the same for me and has also been in touch constantly checking up on me and reassured me that my place is there when I am ready to go back.

Even my old badminton club that I left several years ago sent me flowers when they heard about my predicament, this means so much to me on a personal note and just proves that all you need is FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

On a good note Martin,with some help from Amanda has organised a charity day at Redbridge Sports Centre on 14 July on my behalf, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Trust.  A parent and child tournament, an exhibition from England players is hopeful, a raffle and other fun things going on.

I have suffered this horrible disease and have experienced first-hand the wonderful support that Macmillan provide. I would like to think that I am a bit tough and my attitude has always been “I’M KICKING YOUR BUTT CANCER” which I believe has also got me through on both occasions, but I know that if I need them I have my family and friends and Macmillan are on the phone at any time.

So to wrap it up, I am hoping to be back coaching at the end of May or first week of June and I have an appointment with the dental surgeon on the 26th June to see if I can have some nice new shiny dentures (the answer better be yes or else).

Article written by Carl Barnard.

I have known Carl for many years and he really is one of the most inspirational people I know. He is always so positive and even through the days that must have been very dark he still managed to find something to laugh and smile about. Even in this article he finishes with the bit about shiny new teeth. That is just so Carl and we are all looking forward to welcoming him back to our coaching team in a few weeks. If you would like to go along to the fundraising day or donate to this please contact and help them raise lots of money for Macmillan which everyone knows is a really worth cause. Please also see Carl’s Just Giving page to read more about him and the fundraising day.


Mr and Mrs Adcock – remarkable achievement!

For those of you who know me or have read my Banana Chat way back will know that Badminton plays a big part in my life. After weekend competing last weekend, in the County league finals for Essex I woke up very achey on Monday morning and switched on the BBC news just in time for the sport and was it true the BBC actually headlined the sport section with the great news that Chris and Gabby Adcock had retained their European Mixed Doubles Badminton title in Huelva, Spain. They beat Mathias Christiansen and Christinna Pedersen 21-18, 17-21, 21-18 to become the first English pair to retain their title in 32 years.

Chris and Gabby Adcock first met on the junior county scene and started to play together from when they were 14. In 2011 they won a silver medal at the World Championships. Despite their success they were split up before the 2012 London Olympics and Chris was paired with Scot Imogen Bankier. Unfortunately Chris and Imogen failed to get out of their box and it was back to the drawing board and the old partnership of Chris and Gabby White as she was then, was rectified.

Chris and Gabby were married in 2013 and success first came in 2014 at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow when the pair took the gold medal. Success continued with them taking a bronze World Championship medal in 2017 as well as the European gold in the same year. 2018 has got off to a great start for the couple with them firstly retaining their Commonwealth gold medal and then last weekend retaining their European title.

They both say that being married helps them with their performance and enables them to focus on their game. They say that they have the same goals and objectives and can work together to achieve them. They say that knowing each other inside out and having 100% trust in each other is the perfect recipe for success. They know how hard they have to train and feel that being married has helped them deal with all aspects of the game.

Great news both on and off court and Banana Crumble would like to wish Chris and Gabby all the best for the future and lets hope for many more medals!! Especially the gold ones! How great to see Badminton headlining!!


Charlotte Archer-Gay gold medalist at World Transplant Games

We first met Charlotte Archer-Gay at an after school Badminton club at Bower Park Academy in Romford, Essex where she was then a pupil. Charlotte had struggled with her health and became increasingly unwell having to endure hours of kidney dialysis. She was so unwell that she was told that she needed a kidney transplant. As her health deteriorated she had to stop all of her sport. After a long wait and many tests it was found that her father Phillip Gay was a perfect match. This was a very unusual situation as Charlotte and Phillip were in fact different blood types.

In February 2015 they both underwent the complicated transplant and donation procedure. Charlotte and her Dad spent many months recovering from the operation. As part of Charlotte’s rehab she was encouraged to take up sport again. She once again joined the after school Badminton Club at Bower Park. Charlotte was invited to take part in the British transplant games.  This was held in Liverpool in June 2016. Charlotte won two golds medals there – one in the singles and one in the donor and recipient doubles with her dad. Trying to build up her fitness and skill levels Charlotte joined The Eagles Badminton Club. On the back of her success at British Transplant Games Charlotte was then selected to take place in the World transplant games in Malaga in July 2017. The Eagles Badminton club bought Charlotte a special badminton bag to wish her on her way.

Charlotte, who is now in the sixth form at the Campion School in Hornchurch, Essex had the ladies singles as her first event. In this competition Charlotte took the silver medal. The mixed doubles was next and unfortunately for Charlotte they came up against tough opponents and lost in the first round. Leaving her last event  as the ladies doubles. Charlotte and her partner Kiera progressed through to the final and eventually took the gold medal. What a story, in just over two years Charlotte has gone from being so very poorly she was unable to do any sport to being a World Champion.

Charlotte returned from the competition buzzing, to hear her talking about people she had met from all over the world was just so inspiring. In fact she swapped kit with people from as far away as Korea and Singapore.

Charlotte retained her singles gold medal at the 2017 British Transplant games which was held in Lanarkshire, Scotland at the end of July.  We look forward to hearing more good news about Charlotte and her future successes and to hear her inspirational story continue. After knowing Charlotte’s story it really does make you realise the importance of the donor register and shows what a difference this gift can make to people’s lives. To find out more about becoming an organ donor or joining the donor register go to


Banana Chat – Meet Sam Parsons

Sam Parsons born on 23/8/1995 is an international badminton player. He won the English National Singles title in 2015 aged just 20 by breaking Rajiv Ouseph’s seven year reign. He has won many domestic and international events and has been a part of the Surrey Smashers team in the National Badminton League. His home county is Warwickshire.


What is your favourite joke?
I have a lot, but if it makes people laugh then they are my favourites.

What makes you smile?
Hearing people laugh at me and making other people smile.

What is your favourite Good News story?
When my Gran says : Good news, we are having Chinese takeaway tonight.

What inspires you?
The idea of being able to make a living out of playing badminton. Playing a sport I love.

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
To cure cancer.

If you could have one superpower what would you choose and why?
I would choose to be able to teleport anywhere and anytime because with this there is not anything that you can’t do.

What is your favourite food?
Hot food is Chinese, snacks are biscuits.

What is your favourite drink?
Cup of tea.

If you are going on holiday what luxury item would you take from home?
My Laptop

If you could make one law, what would it be and why?
Everyone must try and make someone laugh at least one time per day because laughing is the best.

Give us a random piece of information on you that people wouldn’t know about you?
I have wanted to learn to dance, have just never got round to trying.

What is your favourite phrase or saying?
I am so tired. I use that one a lot.

What cause/project/charity or anything else would you like to plug?
Cancer research as my charity and FZ Forza as my sponsor

Who is favourite music artist?

Who is the person that you feel has shaped your life most?
My uncle Steve Butler

PJ’s or Not ?

Hot or cold? Cold

Cat or Dog? Dog

Blue or Pink? Blue

Tea or Coffee? Tea

Glass half empty or glass half full? Half full

Pyjamas or not? No pyjamas

Night out or night in? Night in

Pizza or Pasta? Pizza

Biscuits or cake? Biscuits

Wine or beer? Beer

Football or rugby? Football

Cinema or theatre? Cinema

Gym or TV? TV

Naughty or nice? Nice

Silver or gold? Gold

Tent or hotel? Hotel

Bath or shower? Shower

Starter or pudding? Pudding

Sheets or duvet? Duvet

Apple or banana ? Banana