In pictures: Lots to celebrate as Forth Valley Maggie’s centre marks first anniversary

Left to right, Marie Manzi, centre head; Wendy Dick 54, centre user; and Liz MacMillan, former centre head
Left to right, Marie Manzi, centre head; Wendy Dick 54, centre user; and Liz MacMillan, former centre head

Cancer sufferers and their families helped celebrate the first birthday of the Maggie’s Forth Valley centre.

Opened on March 15, 2017, the building has been visited 5300 times in the last 12 months.

It provides free practical and emotional support for those living with cancer and their relatives and friends.

Maggie’s centres – there are now 22 across the world – are usually built in the grounds of specialist NHS cancer hospitals. However, the charity recognised the need for one in this area and decided to build the iconic building in the grounds of Forth Valley Royal Hospital at Larbert.

They are designed to be places where people are welcome to visit with qualified professionals on hand to offer a programme of support, looking at everything from physical and emotional wellbeing to how to cope financially during cancer treatment.

Marie Manzi, centre head, said: “Our incredible Maggie’s centre has been open a year, but in that time has become a real hub of the Forth Valley community.

“It’s wonderful to see so many people from across this area finding the support they need at Maggie’s at what is possibly the hardest time of their lives.”

The Walk the Walk charity provided an initial £3 million grant to build and operate the Forth Valley centre. The funding coming from its iconic night-time MoonWalk through the streets of Edinburgh.

Fiona Barrowman, of Larbert, lost her husband to cancer in 2016. Before Maggie’s opened on her doorstep she used to travel to the Edinburgh centre in the grounds of the Western General Hospital.

She said: “I see it as my job to tell as many people as possible about Maggie’s because the support I found helped me to cope and manage I found myself in.

“When I walked the Half Marathon at The MoonWalk Scotland I never for a moment thought I would be meeting Nina Barough at the opening of Maggie’s Forth Valley, or that we would have a link.

“It is an incredibly fun event which helps incredible causes like Maggie’s so I would encourage anyone to sign up.”

The Forth Valley centre is named after Nina Barough, founder and chief executive of Walk the Walk.

This week she said: “How quickly time passes. It seems like only yesterday we were celebrating the opening of the wonderful Maggie’s Forth Valley.

“Now here we are a year later hearing about the fantastic support that it is providing for women and men living with cancer and their supporting families.

“Along with centres at Glasgow and in Lanarkshire it is quite awe-inspiring that thanks to Walk the Walk’s fantastic walkers, volunteers and loyal supporters who have raised millions of pounds. It really is the most wonderful example of what can be achieved by two charities working together.”

Maggie’s Forth Valley relies on community financial support to continue to operate its centres and Forth Valley is no exception.

Centre head Marie Manzi thanked all those who had already contributed and encouraged more to get involved.

To find out more about the centre call 01324 868069, email forthvalley@maggies or pop in to the building next to the lochan, off Quintinshill Drive.

The MoonWalk Scotland has raised over £20 million since 2006, with most of the money staying in Scotland to help improve the lives of those with cancer.

This year’s event takes place on Saturday, June 9 and for more information go to www.walkthewalk.org.