Maggie’s announces opening celebrations

The Maggies Forth Valley centre will shortly be handed over to the charity by the developers. Picture: Michael Gillen
The Maggies Forth Valley centre will shortly be handed over to the charity by the developers. Picture: Michael Gillen

Looking forward to throwing open the doors of their new centre are the team at Maggie’s Forth Valley.

The charity’s plans for the facility to be open in 2016 were hit when the developer involved in the project went into administration.

But this week it was revealed the Maggie’s Centre, which will provide support and assistance to cancer sufferers and their families, will open early in 2017 with an official ceremony on March 15.

Chief executive Laura Lee said: “We were all disappointed when the opening had to be delayed. The Dunne Group had already built our centre at Gartnaval Hospital in Glasgow and we never anticipated any problems.

“However, we regret the delay, particularly for those who have had to continue travelling to other centres, usually in Glasgow and Edinburgh, because the Forth Valley centre has yet to open.”

The charity has already given an assurance that it has lost none of its funds after the builder went bust with the lost of over 500 jobs.

Within weeks the Sir Robert McAlpine Group had stepped in to finish off the project in the grounds of Forth Valley Royal Hospital, Larbert.

Laura added: “This has to be one of the most beautiful settings for any of our centres. As people make their way here hopefully that view will begin to help manage people’s anxiety.

“The majority of Maggie’s are at cancer centres but the team at Forth Valley Royal recognised that, although they weren’t one, they served a really important group of people with cancer and knew the work we do and how it could benefit them.”

She said the charity, which was the brainchild of cancer sufferer Maggie Jencks, wanted to ensure that there were no shortcuts taken with the new building.

Laura, who was Maggie Jencks’ oncology nurse before her death in 1995, added: “It was important that this beautiful building was built to last. Sadly people will still be diagnosed with cancer in 20 years’ time and we want this building to be here still providing a place for them to come. It’s important that it is finished to the highest quality.”

The centre, which will be managed by Liz Macmillan, the former oncology unit manager at FVRH, will be open for people dropping in as well as those referred for the support it will provide.

Alongside Liz will be a clinical psychologist and a benefits advisor with others added as the centre develops, including sessional staff to offer advice on relaxation, exercise and nutrition.

Former First Minister Jack McConnell, an ardent supporter of Maggie’s, will be involved in the celebrations in March for what will be the charity’s 20th centre opening shortly after the 20th anniversary of the first in Edinburgh in 1996.