Our story

1996 - 2000




Marcia Blakenham, involved with the charity from its earliest days, is appointed a Director in February 1996 (and later the Vice-Chairman in May 2005). Her creative input remains crucial to Maggie’s design work, from its publications to Centre interiors.


After Laura Lee has set up a team and organised the necessary functions, the first Maggie’s Centre, designed by Richard Murphy, at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh opens, a converted grey-stone stable block previously used as a store. Within a year or two it becomes apparent that the great need and the success of the Centre mean that an extension is necessary. This one, also designed by Murphy, opens on September 5 2001. During this early period Laura runs the social and health programme of support while Edel Toal does the fundraising.

Richard Murphy later wins the Best Conservation Award in Edinburgh and a RIBA award for his design of the Maggie's Centre.

Maggie's Edinburgh

The artist Eduardo Paolozzi, an old friend of Maggie and Charles, visits the Centre and donates an art collection to the charity. His graphic work is now shown in all the Centres.



It becomes apparent that Maggie’s Centres is offering a type of support that is widely needed, and the Board meets to consider expanding. In an ideal world this would mean having a Maggie’s Centre at every major UK hospital.


Caroline Courtauld, a good friend of Maggie and Charles, is appointed as a Director. Having helped Maggie set up the Bradbury Hospice, she goes on to work with Clara Weatherall to establish Maggie’s Hong Kong, a building to be designed by Frank Gehry. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth visits Maggie’s Edinburgh.



Derek Douglas is appointed Chairman of Maggie's Board of Directors.


Maggie’s pamphlet, A View from the Front Line, is edited by Marcia Blakenham and the first of several editions is published. This booklet becomes essential in defining the philosophy and approach of the centres.



Sir John Soane’s Museum in London hosts An Exhibition of Frank Gehry's Work to which donors and friends of Maggie’s are invited. Later that year, Maggie's holds an event at the Eduardo Paolozzi Exhibition at the Dean Gallery, Edinburgh, to encourage new supporters, particularly business supporters.


Maggie’s forms relationships with trusts and major supporters who want to give and, where appropriate, applies for statutory and lottery funding.

In Scotland, Maggie’s is awarded Heritage Lottery Funding for the Glasgow centre’s Gatehouse Lodge renovation. Similarly, partnership funding from New Opportunities fund gives Maggie’s 50% of the capital income needed for centres in Fife and Lanarkshire. In the Highlands the organisation receives equivalent support from the Highlands and Islands Enterprise fund. Maggie’s Dundee benefits from the generosity of a local resident who gives significant support to the service for its first three years. In London and the Highlands, Maggie’s also recruits the generous support of other individual major donors.


Andrew Anderson joins Maggie’s and takes on the important role of running Maggie’s Edinburgh. This allows Laura to move into her current role of Chief Executive, overseeing the development of Maggie’s programme of support and the expansion of our centres.

Andrew Anderson at Maggie's Edinburgh

5 September

Kirsty Wark, Maggie’s Patron and BBC presenter, opens the extension of Maggie's Edinburgh. The surrounding gardens are landscaped by Emma Keswick, a relative of Maggie's.

Ali Afshar, who goes on to chair the property committee and steers Maggie’s through the procurement and production of previous centres, is appointed a Director.


The philosophy and core elements of Maggie's programme of support are first published in ‘Maggie’s Principles and Practice’, written by Laura Lee and Glyn Jarvis.