A NEW support centre for people with cancer opens at the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre later this month.

Maggie's Merseyside at Clatterbridge will open its doors for previews on Monday, with the full programme of support launching on June 23.

A launch event this week was attended by Maggie’s Chief Executive Laura Lee, the hospital’s chief executive Andrew Cannell, Liverpool-born retail and design guru George Davies and internationally renowned photographer Mary McCartney.

Visitors will be able to access a range of support that Maggie’s offer, including psychological support, benefits advice, nutrition workshops, relaxation and stress management, art therapy, tai chi and yoga.

Maggie’s chief executive, Laura Lee, said: "I am delighted that Maggie’s Merseyside at Clatterbridge will soon be offering a much needed programme of support to people with cancer and their family and friends across Merseyside and beyond.

“To watch a centre come into being is an incredible journey, one I have been privileged to share with every Maggie’s Centre built so far, but nothing compares to seeing the Centre filled with people benefitting from the support on offer.

“I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone who made the opening of our Centre possible; the team at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre who found us the perfect spot within their grounds, our architects Carmody Groarke who have created such an imaginative Centre and to George Davies and Mary McCartney for their support and for taking time out of their busy schedules to make the opening such a success. I’d also like to thank the Big Lottery Fund, Monument Trust, Sir Robert McAlpine and Travis Perkins.

“Their generous donations of both time and money have helped to bring vital cancer support to the area.”

Andrew Cannell, CEO of The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust, added: “The team have created a visually stunning addition to our hospital and patients now have immediate and easy access to the support services Maggie’s offers, which enhance our mission to deliver the most compassionate cancer care possible to our patients.”

The Big Lottery Fund and The Monument Trust are generously funding the construction of the new interim Maggie’s Centre at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Wirral and the costs of core staff over the first three years of the project. Maggie's will be fundraising locally to cover the Centre’s other running costs.

Maggie Keswick Jencks was the co-founder alongside husband Charles Jencks of "Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres."

She was a writer, a landscape designer, a painter and a mother of two. In 1993, she was told that her breast cancer had recurred and spread to her bones, liver and brain and that she had three months to live.

But by joining a trial involving advanced chemotherapy, Maggie extended her life by a further 18 months - and it was in this time that her idea for a cancer caring centre was born.

She talked to her medical team at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh about a place to help their patients with the very real, if not medical, problems of living with cancer.

She drew up a blueprint and plans for a pioneering venture, in a stable block in the grounds of the hospital.

Maggie died in July, 1995. The first Maggie’s Centre opened in Edinburgh in November of 1996.

To find out more about visit www.maggiescentres.org/merseyside