James unveils artwork at Guy’s Cancer Centre in memory of cancer patients’ champion

James Brokenshire joined patients, staff and family representative of June Casson the former Chair of the Patient Reference Group for the Guy’s Cancer Centre at Queen Mary’s Hospital for a special event to unveil a painting to remember and celebrate June’s work.

A retired civil servant from Downham, June sadly passed away in January aged 69. June championed the voice of her fellow cancer patients in the design of the cancer centre in Sidcup, which opened last year.

The centre has enhanced the NHS services provided from Sidcup, with patients receiving treatment closer to where they live instead of travelling into central London. In a fitting tribute to June's work, Guy's Cancer at Queen Mary’s Hospital revealed that more than 22,000 patient appointments had taken place in its first year of operation – saving approximately 550,000 miles of travelling. This includes 11,500 radiotherapy treatments and 10,600 chemotherapy appointments.

More than 2,200 people had also visited the Dimbleby Macmillan Support Centre for cancer patients and their families, whilst 93.3% of patients were likely to recommend Guy’s Cancer at QMH to a friend or family member.

In 2014, James Brokenshire carried out the official ground-breaking ceremony with June to signal the start of construction work on the centre and performed the official opening in 2017.

Speaking after the unveiling, James said:

“It was a privilege to join June Casson in breaking the ground to mark the start of the construction of the Guy’s Cancer Centre at Queen Mary’s. June’s advocacy and leadership of the patient reference group was instrumental in seeing that the centre was designed with the needs of patients at the forefront. It is hugely fitting that this artwork will continue to underline the important contribution June made and how patients will benefit for years to come.”