The new Maggie’s centre which will provide support for cancer sufferers and their families from across Forth Valley has opened.
Built in the grounds of Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert thanks to a £3 million donation from charity Walk the Walk, it has been more than five years in the planning.
Lord Jack McConnell performed the opening ceremony as Maggie’s chief executive Laura Lee, Walk the Walk’s founder Nina Barough and invited guests looked on.
This is the 20th centre to be opened and was designed by architects Garbers & James.
It is expected to receive 3000 visits in the first year.
Nina Barough was invited to unveil the centre’s plaque ... only to discover the building had been named after her. She said: “I’m absolutely speechless. I never expected this.
“Most of the time I’m in the office arranging our events but days like today are really sweet. It’s great raising money but when you see how it has been spent it’s very special.
“I am so proud that with the help of all our wonderful bra-wearing marathon-walking MoonWalkers, volunteers and supporters, Walk the Walk is once again the principle funder of a new Maggie’s.”
Lord McConnell said : “More people than ever before are living longer with and beyond cancer and the support offered by Maggie’s centres are needed even more now than it was in the past.
“For the residents of Forth Valley, this Maggie’s centre with its expert staff and evidence based programme of support will be nothing short of a lifeline on their doorstep.”
Laura Lee said the opening of the charity’s 20th centre is a landmark for Maggie’s as well as an important one for the people it will serve.
She added: : “They now have a beautiful and unique building in a stunning setting where I know they will find the calm they need while going through what is probably one of the hardest experiences of their lives.”
Every year 1900 people in Forth Valley are diagnosed with cancer and around 15,000 people in the area living with the disease.
Jane Grant, chief executive of NHS Forth Valley, said: “Maggie’s wide ranging programme of emotional, practical and social support will complement the services provided by local NHS staff and make a huge difference to local people living with cancer across Forth Valley.”
Charles Jencks, who with his late wife Maggie realised the need for the centres, said they were designed to help people in their journey with cancer.
He said: “Maggie had this plan for a cancer caring centre but although she was a modest woman, after she died I decided they should be known as Maggie’s centre as it personified the self-help that she looked for in her journey.”