Andrew Anderson receives OBE in a ceremony at Holyrood Palace

Monday 01 July 2024

Andrew Anderson, who has worked for Maggie’s for almost 25 years, has today been invested as Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in a ceremony at Holyrood Palace.

Andrew has been recognised for services to cancer support in the UK and abroad - ensuring that people living with cancer have the emotional support they need alongside their medical care.

gave me hope

People like father–of-one Graeme, from Edinburgh, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2021.

He said: “I was in a terrible place and thought about ending my life. 

"I was told to go to Maggie’s and when I turned up Andy took one look at me and knew instantly that I needed serious help. I can safely say that, without him, I wouldn’t be here now. He saved my life. 

"I was referred to the crisis team who kept me alive and visited me daily. 

"But it was Andy’s voice which put calm back into a situation where there was none.

"Maggie’s gave me hope where I had none. I can’t put into words what he’s done for me and my family.”

Acknowledging what we do

Andrew, now Programme Induction and Development Lead for Maggie’s said:

"I am overwhelmed and humbled to have visited Holyrood Palace to be awarded with an OBE, but I feel the honour is less in recognition of myself and more an acknowledgement of what does on a daily basis.

"When I started nearly 25 years ago at Maggie’s there was only one centre across from the Western General in Edinburgh – now we have 24 centres across the UK.

"At Maggie’s, every centre visitor has time to think about the questions around their cancer and understand what is changing in their lives. 

"From the start I realised that what people wanted from me was very different from what I was used to offering in the hospital as an oncology nurse. 

"I really had to think about paying attention to their agenda and how to spot what Maggie’s needed to do for each individual’s needs. So, it was a real stretch but a brilliant stretch.

"People with cancer continue to live longer with complicated side effects but at Maggie’s, we can support them and their families to live well with cancer.

"Whether that’s helping them to understand their medical journey and the language around that or helping rehabilitate them physically and emotionally before, during and after treatment.

"And it’s not just our staff who can make a difference, we introduce people to other centre visitors, and we find that that peer support means people can discuss similar experiences – new friendships are formed and that support is invaluable too."

A different type of cancer care

Maggie’s was the vision of Maggie Keswick Jencks who had an idea for a different type of cancer care as she lived with advanced cancer for two years. 

She died in 1995, but Dame Laura Lee, who was a young oncology nurse at the time at the Western General Hospital and Maggie’s friend, worked with Maggie’s family to ensure her vision became a reality.

Dame Laura Lee, Maggie’s Chief Executive, added: “I am really delighted for Andrew to have received an OBE for his services to cancer care. 

"For the last 25 years, Andrew has always welcomed people living with cancer with great warmth, and he has worked tirelessly and with great devotion to help people in Edinburgh live their lives better with cancer.

"When the first Maggie’s opened more than two decades ago, the general opinion was that if you got good medical care that was enough, but we know that cancer brings such difficult and complex emotions of uncertainty, loneliness and anxiety that people need support with them. Their families do as well and that is what Maggie’s does - day after day. We support people to live well with cancer.

"We have come a long way, but I want to see 60 centres across the UK one day. I know we will get there and I hope that Andy’s award means that more people will hear about us and come to our centres to get the support they need.”

Our centres

The first Maggie’s centre opened in 1996 in the grounds of the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh. 

Under Dame Laura Lee’s guidance the organisation has grown at an incredible rate, despite relying almost entirely on voluntary donations. 

There are now 24 centres across the UK, as well as centres in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Barcelona.

Supporting people during and after treatment

Lisa Stephenson, 55, from Edinburgh, has been supported by Maggie’s Edinburgh since she was first diagnosed with a rare blood cancer in 2011.

Lisa been instrumental in raising over £2 million for Maggie’s Edinburgh and helped to build an extension onto what was the very first Maggie’s centre. That extension opened in 2018. 

She said: “I am absolutely over the moon that the wonderful Andrew Anderson has been awarded an OBE. 

"His work in supporting people through cancer before, during and after treatment is second to none. 

"Living with a cancer diagnosis is really difficult – physically, emotionally and mentally. I don’t know how I would have coped without having Andy and the Maggie’s team on hand to guide and support me through.”

How we can help

Our centres are visited more than 311,000 times a year from people with cancer and their families. 

More than 99% of visitors report that information received about cancer and treatment is very helpful.  

The same number of visitors also make healthy changes to their diet and exercise after speaking to our expert staff.

Come and see us at your nearest Maggie’s centre, call us on 0300 123 180 or email us at

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