Teenager living with cancer treated to VIP visit to crisp factory – and comes away with own brand ‘Carly’s Crisps’

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For teenager Carly Blackburn, who is living with cancer, tucking into a packet of salt and vinegar crisps was the best sign that she was feeling better after her latest round of chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Carly happily admits that she is “obsessed” with the savoury snack and would pop a packet as soon as she was well enough after her treatment.

So when cancer charity CLIC Sargent, which is supporting Carly and her family through her illness, were looking for a special treat they arranged a VIP visit to Seabrook’s crisp factory for her to see just how her favourites were made.

And the Bradford-based snacks manufacturer made the day extra special by secretly producing a new brand labelled “Carly’s Crisps” in her honour.

The visit was arranged with help from Morrisons, which is a corporate partner of CLIC Sargent.

Carly, 17, who lives in Crosland Moor, Huddersfield, was diagnosed with a rare cancer of the larynx. She received chemotherapy and radiotherapy and in August this year was told that this had been successful.

Sadly, on a routine scan concerns were raised that Carly may have relapsed and in October she was told that this was the case. The treatment Carly is continuing with has helped to stabilise her condition for the time being.

She is determined to live life to the full and is supported by CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading charity for young cancer patients and their families.

Carly, a student at Greenhead College, Huddersfield, said that she loved crisps – especially Seabrook salt and vinegar.

“After I’ve had treatment everyone knows that I am alright if they see that I’m eating crisps,” said Carly. “I was asked if I’d like to visit the Seabrook factory and I thought that it would be nice but it’s not going to happen. I was amazed when I found out I was going.

“I really enjoyed visiting Seabrook and finding out how crisps are made. I got to taste freshly made crisps straight from the oven and they were amazing.

“When I saw the ‘Carly’s Crisps’ coming down the chute I was really shocked. It was really cool. I took some to the ward at Leeds General Infirmary to say thank you to the nurses who have been looking after me. I’m a massive crisps fan but even I’m not going to eat 12 boxes of 32 packets of crisps myself!”

While she was at Seabrook she also got to visit the firm’s development and technical suite where she was able to taste test some potential new products including ‘unicorn’, onion bhaji, burnt end beef, salted caramel flavourings and some of their top secret tastes.

Carly’s CLIC Sargent social worker Laura Doyle said: “This all started with Carly’s clinical nurse specialist Robyn making a jokey comment about visiting a crisp factory – fast forward a couple of weeks and the idea had snowballed. Everyone pulled together to put on an amazing VIP experience for Carly, ensuring that she had the best day possible.

“The trip has really highlighted the power of CLIC Sargent’s partnership with Morrisons and the connections that have been made with other companies as a result of it.  A big thank you to Morrisons, Seabrook and Ultimate Digital, which produced the ‘Carly’s Crisps’ packets, for a truly memorable day.”

Jonathan Bye, chief executive officer of Seabrook, said: “It was a real honour to have Carly over at Seabrook House and to show her the secrets behind the perfect potato crisp. Tasting hot crisps just off the production line is the stuff that dreams are made of and provided Carly with a special moment which we hope she will treasure.”

Morrisons and Seabrook have run a number of product promotions and so far raised more than £35,600 to help CLIC Sargent’s work supporting young people with cancer and their families.