Maggie's Centre opened by Nigella and Sarah

PM's wife and celebrity chef open £3.5million centre

Professor Robert Leonard opens Maggie’s with Sarah Brown (left) and Nigella Lawson

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The Prime Minister’s wife Sarah Brown and celebrity TV chef Nigella Lawson opened Hammersmith’s prestigious £3.5m Maggie’s Centre on Tuesday (April 29).

The Sir Richard-Rogers designed Maggie's centre will give free information and support to those affected by cancer from May onwards.

Maggie's Centres were the vision of Maggie Keswick

Jencks when she herself was treated for cancer. She recognised the difficulties of accessing information

and ongoing support which help people to cope when

faced with a diagnosis of cancer.

Maggie’s Centres are intended to be housed in

beautiful buildings and gardens that patients can visit as

often as they liked, and where they find expert medical

advice as well as "practical, psychological and emotional

support".

Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith sees over 6,000 new cancer patients every year. The centre will be offering, free of charge, a programme of drop-in and pre-booked psychological and emotional support and information for anyone affected by cancer.

Leading oncologist Professor Robert Leonard and eminent researcher Professor Charles Coombes of Imperial College Healthcare Trust are delighted that such an invaluable service is now available to people across London affected by cancer.

 Maggie was under the care of Professor Leonard at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh where she was treated for advanced breast cancer.

“No one underestimates the physical difficulties in battling with cancer but the emotional impacts can be just as traumatic. Being diagnosed with cancer is enormously stressful and frightening for the patient and their loved ones. Patients perceive that their whole life will be changed, whether the cancer is cured or not. The experience can leave psychological scars that run very deep,” said Professor Leonard.

“As clinicians our priority is medical treatment but Maggie’s centres are a natural extension of our clinical work. They provide a wealth of emotional and practical support to cope with the major upheaval that cancer causes in people’s lives.”

 

Its architects describe the pavilion shaped building as “unique and uplifting” and say it “will offer a calm, home-from-home sanctuary a step away from the hospital.” 

Landscape designer Dan Pearson is creating a special garden both around the Centre and within its courtyards.

This will feature silver birches to screen the garden from noise from the nearby Fulham Palace Road, as well as winter jasmine and magnolias.

May 2, 2008