A CHARITY set up in memory of Scholes-born entertainer Roy Castle is playing a vital role in bringing together lung cancer organisations across the world.

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation has taken over the administration of the Global Lung Cancer Coalition.

The coalition was created in 2001 and is the only organisation which connects lung cancer patient groups from all over the world.

It has 16 member groups in 10 countries.

The coalition has four aims:

To ensure lung cancer is on the global health agenda; to lessen its stigma; to help patients' families take an active role in cancer care; and to push for legal changes to improve the treatment of patients.

Dr Jesme Baird, the foundation's director of patient care, said: "The coalition enables members to share knowledge and experience and learn from each other.

"Lung cancer is not only a problem in developed countries, such as the UK.

"It is also becoming a massive problem in developing countries, in the Far East and in central and eastern Europe.

"Despite its devastating impact, funding of lung cancer research is still considerably less than other common cancers and other life-threatening illnesses," said Dr Baird.

Each year, 10m people are diagnosed with lung cancer.

More than half of those patients die within a year of diagnosis and only one in 10 people live longer than five years.

The Roy Castle foundation, which has a lung cancer research centre in Liverpool, aims to improve these statistics by paying for research, treatment and support groups for the disease. It also pays for anti-smoking campaigns.

It was created in memory of Roy, who died from lung cancer 10 years ago at the age of 62.

He never smoked, but his disease was caused by passive smoking, through years of playing the trumpet in smoky bars and clubs.

Before his death, Roy campaigned to raise awareness about lung cancer and passive smoking.

The foundation was set up to continue his efforts.