How we are governed


Maggie Keswick-Jencks - Co-founder


In May 1993, Maggie Keswick Jencks was told that her breast cancer had returned and was given two to three months to live.

She joined an advanced chemotherapy trial and lived for another 18 months. During that time, she worked closely with her medical team, which included oncology nurse, Laura Lee, now Maggie’s Chief Executive, to develop a new approach to cancer care.

In order to live more positively with cancer, she believed you needed information that would allow you to be an informed participant in your medical treatment, stress-reducing strategies, psychological support and the opportunity to meet other people in similar circumstances in a relaxed domestic atmosphere.

Maggie was determined that people should not “lose the joy of living in the fear of dying” and the day before she died in June 1995, she sat in her garden, face to the sun and said: “Aren’t we lucky?”

In November 1996, the first Maggie’s Centre opened in Edinburgh and what Maggie had planned became real.



Charles Jencks - Co-founder


Right from the beginning, Charles Jencks supported and steered the direction of Maggie’s.

As he supported Maggie through her treatment, Charles encouraged her to set up the centres that now bear her name.

He wrote several best-selling books on architecture including "The Iconic Building" (Frances Lincoln, 2005) as well as "The Garden of Cosmic Speculation" (Frances Lincoln, 2003, reprinted & revised 2005, 2009). He divided his time between lecturing, writing and designing in the USA, UK and Europe.

As a member of Maggie’s Board of Directors, Charles continued to support the organisation through his skill and expertise.

Charles, with Edwin Heathcote, also co-authored "The Architecture of Hope" (Frances Lincoln, 2010), a book that explores the history of Maggie's Centres and the architectural tradition to which they belong.

Charles died on Sunday 13 October 2019 at his home in London. He was 80.

Maggie and Charles' children, Lily and John, continue to play an active role within Maggie's. Lily designed the landscaping for Maggie's Glasgow, which opened in 2011, and for Maggie's Hong Kong, which opened in 2013. John has taken part in Maggie’s events and publicity.