On Monday 23rd Camilla, the Duchess of Rothesay and Queen Sonja of Norway officially opened the new Maggies cancer care centre at Foresterhill. They met Colin Montgomerie and his family, fundraiers, the construction team, and the Maggies staff. The Duchess is the President of Maggies and she and Queen Sonja viewed plans for the centre, designed by Norwegian Architects, Snohetta, while on a visit to Oslo last year.
The £3 million raised by the Monty's Maggies appeal for the Aberdeen centre in just 3 years is the fastest fundraising camapaign in Maggies history. The "Elizabeth Montgomerie Building" named after Colin Montgomerie's Mum is a tribute to the support from Colin and the Elizabeth Montgomerie foundation. The Duchess and Queen Sonja unveiled a commeratiive stone with the name of the building at the front door of the centre.
The royal guests enjoyed afternoon tea with two families who have experienced first-hand the kind of comfort Maggie's can offer.
Sitting either side of the duchess were eight-year-old Jemma Findlay and Leigh Bonthrone, 15, who were chosen to present bouquets to the Royal visitors.
Jemma's mum, Tracy, died from cancer in February, aged just 46, and she and her dad Adam, 40, were given a lot of support from the team at Maggie's Edinburgh.
The duchess asked Jemma about her favourite subjects at school, encouraging her to keep up her piano lessons, and pulled her close for a special hug for the cameras.
Mr Findlay, managing director of New Wave Me-dia, said Maggie's had been an invaluable source of ad-vice on how to speak to Jemma about what was happening to her mum, and he was delighted to get behind the Aberdeen campaign.
"In a small way, today is about taking something positive from everything that has happened this year and hopefully when Jemma is a bit older she will look back on this and have something happy to remember," he said.
Leigh was little older than Jemma when her dad, John, 46, was diagnosed with a rare type of bone cancer in 2008. He was told his only chance of survival was a 56-hour-operation – and even then there was a 50-50 chance he wouldn't survive. Through it all, the family depended on the team at Maggie's Fife and when oil worker Mr Bon- throne started work in Aberdeen they poured all their energies into supporting the campaign for the new centre.
Mr Bonthrone took part in the Maggie's Monster Bike and Hike in 2012 and was chosen to represent Maggie's Aberdeen in the Olympic torch relay, while Leigh and a friend raised £600 in a sponsored scooter ride over the Forth Road Bridge.
Leigh said the duchess was keen to learn how much Maggie's had helped her and her parents. "It's so nice to know that families like ours are going to have somewhere in Aberdeen where they can go together to get that kind of help," she added.
(from the Press and Journal on 24th September, 2013)
I have been involved from the beginning photographing various fund raising activities including the three Colin Montgomerie "Ryder Cup" events at Deeside golf club and Stewart Milne's home which raised £660 000. aberdeenphoto.com have also supplied thousands of images to Maggies and the companies inviolved in the fund raising. The images have been used for the hoarding during construction, the Maggie's bus, numerous presentations, websites, and books supplied to the golf team sponsors.
I am currently working with Sharon O Loan of Maggies and Colin Welsh, the chairman of the committee, to create a special book incororating both my photographs and those of the Press and Journal who have been very supportive to the fund raising campign. A link to a gallery of over 600 images taken on Monday will be on-line as soon as the images have been approved.
In the meantime, there is a small selection of images taken at the opening. Use the arrows to view these.