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Downing Street boost for new Maggie's Centres

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Chancellor Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah this week hosted an event at 11 Downing Street to help raise funds for the Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres' ambitious building programme.

Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid and Lord Rogers are among the world-class architects contributing designs to the growing network of centres across the UK.

Maggie's Centres, established in 1996 in the memory of Charles Jencks' late wife Maggie, aims to raise £25 million to fund its construction and running costs for the next two years.

Latest plans for an additional five projects will bring the total number of centres to 13.

The original centre, an award-winning stable block by Richard Murphy in Edinburgh (AJ 13.3.97), was followed by commissions for Frank Gehry in Dundee, due to complete this spring, and Page and Park in Glasgow, now open. Other designs, by Daniel Libeskind in Cambridge, Hawkins/Brown in Sheffield, Lord Rogers at Charing Cross in London, Zaha Hadid in Kirkcaldy, Fife, and a second commission for Page and Park in Inverness, are all in development.

Architects for the latest tranche - planned for Lanarkshire, Swansea, Nottingham, Cheltenham and Oxford - are still to be appointed.

The centres, to provide a place of solace and support for cancer patients and their families within a non-institutional environment, are sited close to hospital oncology departments.

Architects, many of them friends of the Jencks', are briefed to design a building that is at once innovative and stimulating, relaxing and unimposing.

Gordon Brown praised the centres as 'excellent examples of the NHS and the voluntary sector working together'.

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