The Royal Marsden Children and young people

10 years as President: HRH The Duke of Cambridge visits

HRH The Duke of Cambridge celebrated his 10th anniversary as President of The Royal Marsden by supporting staff and helping patients during a hands-on visit in May

HRH The Duke of Cambridge coaxing a smile from bashful Isobel Dawson

Back in 2005, HRH The Duke of Cambridge undertook two days of work experience at The Royal Marsden, where he worked with a range of staff at both hospital sites. Returning to the hospital in May to mark 10 years in his role as our President, The Duke had a rare chance to meet staff and support them as they treated and cared for cancer patients. He spent time at the Sutton hospital, meeting staff and patients in the world-leading Radiotherapy Department and Oak Centre for Children and Young People.

The Duke visited the UK’s first MR Linac, a state-of-the-art radiotherapy machine that is set to make treatment more effective and reduce side effects for patients. The first Royal Marsden patients are due to be treated with the machine later this year, initially through clinical studies in hard-to-treat cancer types.

Dr Alison Tree, Consultant Clinical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden, Professor Uwe Oelfke, Joint Head of Physics at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), and Dr Simeon Nill, Head of Translational Radiotherapy Physics at The Royal Marsden and the ICR, showed The Duke how the new technology will benefit patients. He also met Mike Slade, Chairman of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity’s £50 million appeal to build a new Clinical Care and Research Centre at Sutton.

The Duke then met Dr Imogen Locke, Consultant Clinical Oncologist, and Superintendent Radiographer Steven Landeg to shadow them and experience what it is like to work with patients receiving radiotherapy.

He helped prepare 44-year-old patient Simon White for treatment on the Trust’s newest radiotherapy machine.

“Having The Duke call me in for treatment and then hearing his voice from the control room while I was lying on the treatment bed was definitely different to an average radiotherapy session, that’s for sure,” Simon says.

The Duke also made a welcome return to the Oak Centre for Children and Young People, which he officially opened with HRH The Duchess of Cambridge in 2011.

He accompanied two staff nurses, Rosie Formella and Jolene Bull, in the Day Care Unit, calling young patients for treatment and helping to check their blood pressure.

The Duke then joined play specialists Claire Riddell and Kate Hodgkiss, along with four young patients and their parents, in the play room for a special arts and crafts session.

Before The Duke left the hospital, Cally Palmer, Chief Executive, and Professor Martin Gore, Consultant Medical Oncologist and Trustee of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, presented him with a photo book to commemorate his decade as President.

“We were delighted to welcome our President back to the hospital in Sutton,” says Cally Palmer. “We are very grateful for his continued support for our patients and for the work we do at The Royal Marsden. By giving him the opportunity to be hands-on, this particular visit was uplifting, inspiring and fun for both patients and staff.

“Over the past 10 years, it has been a pleasure to show The Duke the work that takes place on a daily basis at our hospital, from complex and pioneering research to providing compassionate care and treatment for our patients.”