Maggie's, the charity which provides free practical, emotional, and social support for people with cancer, as well as their family and friends, has turned 20.

The original Centre, in the grounds of the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, was opened in November 1996. Since then, there have been more than 1.3 million visits to Maggie's Centres across the UK and beyond.

Andrew Anderson, Centre Head of Maggie’s Edinburgh, said, "It is wonderful to celebrate the 20th anniversary of both Maggie's Edinburgh as well as the organisation as a whole.

"Over the last 20 years the people of Edinburgh have made the Centre their own, as have those who visit their own centres across the UK and further afield, and I am delighted we have been here to offer a warm Maggie's welcome to men and women of all ages affected by cancer."

Maggie's was the vision of one woman, Maggie Keswick Jencks, who created a blueprint for a different type of cancer care while living with advanced cancer for two years.

Sadly, Maggie never lived to see her vision became a reality, but her family worked with her friend and oncology nurse, Laura Lee, who is now Maggie's Chief Executive, to ensure her plans were not forgotten.

Laura said, "It is wonderful to celebrate 20 years of Maggie's and to acknowledge how far we have come in that time.

"We have grown from having one small Centre to 20 beautiful and homely buildings across the UK and beyond, while relying solely on the generosity of fundraisers, donors and partnerships such as those with People's Postcode Lottery and grant-making charity Walk the Walk, principal funder of our latest Centre in Forth Valley.

"Maggie would be astounded by how we have grown, but also delighted that so many people are now finding the support she felt was missing."

Built in the grounds of NHS hospitals, Maggie's Centres are warm and welcoming places, with qualified professionals on hand to offer an evidence-based core programme of support that has been shown to improve physical and emotional wellbeing.

Emotional support might involve a one-to-one or group session with a clinical psychologist, stress reduction, and relaxation workshops, or art therapy and creative writing courses.

Practical support might include advice about the benefits of eating well, specialist support for managing hair loss and skin care during and after treatment, courses such as Getting Started, for people who are newly diagnosed, or Where Now? for those adjusting to life after cancer.

Social support comes from the people who work in and visit Maggie's Centres, the supportive community around each kitchen table of people who understand what it is to be living with cancer.

Maggie's relies on voluntary donations to support and grow its network of Centres and to develop its unique, high quality programme of support. The charity's aim is to make the biggest difference possible to people living with cancer and their family and friends.

To find out more about Maggie's, visit their website.

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Maggie's recently held a celebration in Edinburgh to mark turning 20