Ladies and Gentlemen,

As the very, very, proud President of Maggie's, I'm delighted to be here in Manchester today to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this unique charity and to open the new Maggie's Centre at the Christie Hospital.

I saw for myself, on my first visit in Edinburgh in 2008, just how Maggie's Centres change people's experience of living with cancer. It was that truly inspirational visit that prompted me to accept the indomitable Laura Lee's request to become its President.

Maggie's has gone from strength to strength, staying true to Maggie Keswick Jencks's vision of truly imaginative buildings whose design is an essential part of the Maggie's message .These Centres offer a calm haven with a warm, and welcoming atmosphere with practical support and a chance to chat to other people and their families facing the challenge of cancer.

This new Maggie's Centre, designed by Foster and Partners, fulfils that vision perfectly.  Lord Foster, born and bred in Manchester, has brought a personal understanding to this masterful design and its light airiness is matched by Dan Pearson's sensitive planting scheme.  I cannot imagine a more welcoming or comforting sanctuary.

And The Christie Hospital, a global leader in cancer treatment, is the ideal place for this Maggie's Centre.  How better to celebrate this 20th anniversary milestone, Ladies and Gentlemen, than with the opening of another beautifully designed Centre where yet more people will find the care and support they need in this ongoing battle against cancer. 

So a very Happy 20th Birthday to Maggie's, and let's hope the next 20 years will bring a Maggie's Centre to every major city in the UK.