Page last updated at 13:14 GMT, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 14:14 UK

First London Maggie's Centre open

Sarah Brown and Nigella Lawson at Maggie's Centre, Charing Cross
Sarah Brown and Nigella Lawson (right) opened the London centre

London's first Maggie's cancer care centre has opened, following the success of five units in Scotland.

TV cook Nigella Lawson and patron Sarah Brown, Prime Minister Gordon Brown's wife, opened the site at Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith, west London.

Designed by Sir Richard Rogers, the 3.5m centre will give free information and support to people with cancer.

Clinical director Professor Bob Leonard said it would provide vital emotional support to patients and their families.

"This gives patients somewhere to emote and get different support than we can provide in the hospital."

He added: "The centre gives patients time to really say what they think about the situation they are in."

'Absolutely wonderful'

The first Maggie's Centre opened at Western General Hospital in Edinburgh in 1996, named after late charity founder Maggie Keswick Jencks, who herself had breast cancer.

The centres offer psychological support that hospitals are unable to supply due to lack of staff or space.

Amina, a cancer patient at Charing Cross Hospital, described the new centre as "absolutely wonderful".

"It is good to have somewhere more lively to deal with the social element of the treatment," she said.

Patron Sarah Brown said the centre would provide "a fantastic service" for anyone diagnosed with cancer in London.

Lanarkshire gets Maggie's Centre
03 Apr 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Cancer charity launches cash bid
09 Apr 07 |  Gloucestershire
Care centre awarded design prize
17 Nov 06 |  Highlands and Islands

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