TWO men who lost their wives to cervical cancer are pleading with women to attend their smear test appointment.

Shocking NHS figures show that 15,964 out of 79,577 women in Cumbria weren’t screened despite being eligible.

Gary Winter lost his wife Leeanne Cheng-Winter in January 2018, after the 34-year-old lost her battle with cervical cancer.

And Jay Clark also lost his wife Susan to the same disease last year.

Gary, of Silloth, said: “My wife didn’t go to her screening appointment immediately because she was too busy tending to her mother who had cancer.

“She put it off and rescheduled it for a few months later, who knows if she had gone sooner if that would have made a difference.

“I would say to women: get it done, don’t avoid it, don’t be embarrassed. It could be a lifesaving test, it could have saved her life, but we’ll never know.”

Mrs Cheng-Winter, of Silloth, was an award-winning netball player in West Cumbria.

Mrs Clark, of Northside, was only 26 when she lost her battle to cervical cancer.

And husband Jay does not want anyone to go through what his family had to endure.

He said: “Every woman should go for their smear test, one hundred per cent.

“Especially if you have children, you need to think about those you could leave behind.”

Mrs Clark’s children were very young when she passed away - Grayson was one, Lexie three, Mackenzie, eight, and Jay’s son, Leo, was 10.

Jay added: “Grayson was only a baby when she died and will grow up without any memories of her.

“It doesn’t matter how embarrassing it can be to go for a smear test, it’s a must or more women are going to get cancer and only find out when it’s too late.”

Whitehaven’s Tot Spot owner Angie Greasley is doing her bit to improve the statistics around smear test attendance by offering free childcare for all mums who need to attend their screening appointment.

Abbie Dixon, supervisor at the playroom, said: “It’s really important for women to get their smear test done – it could save their lives.

“I don’t know anyone who was diagnosed with cancer and hadn’t attended their screening, but I do know women who went to their appointment and they were able to spot anomalies and catch it early.

“Sometimes you put it off and put it off because you feel you don’t have time for it, that’s why we offer the free childcare, to make it easier.”

Of the women who missed their screening in 2018/19, 9,220 were aged between 25 and 49 and 6,744 were between 50 and 64.

GP Dr. Amanda Boardman from NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “When you receive your letter for your smear test please prioritise the appointment in your diary.

“If you struggle to attend appointments, due to working hours, ask your practice if there are any opportunities for an extended access clinic, which are available on some evenings and weekends.

“If you are very anxious you could also bring a friend or a relative to support you at the appointment.”

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week is currently underway with a number of campaigns in place, including a social media effort to raise awareness using the tag #SmearForSmear.