A ‘pioneering’ centre has celebrated a quarter of a century of supporting people with life threatening diseases.

The Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre in Northwood has invited past patients and medical professionals to celebrate its 25 years of supporting people affected by cancer in the south east of England.

Richard Joseph, 51, from Hayling Road in Watford is a recovering patient who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2014.

After losing his house and marriage due to the treatment he was sent to the Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre and received support to get him back on his feet.

Richard Joseph said: “The Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre is like my second family.

“They have provided me with so much support and love over the past three years.

“Their courses are amazing and very uplifting, and the staff, many of whom are volunteers, always make you feel very welcome.”

Mr Joseph added: “All hospitals need a centre like this to help their patients rebuild their lives after cancer and meet new friends.

“It's also a great place to visit and have a coffee and a chat especially if you are feeling down.”

The centre was opened in 1993 and named after Lynda Jackson who died at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, aged just 31.

It was her family who suggested the idea to Macmillan and 25 years later the centre still stands.

Macmillan's joint chief medical officer, Jane Maher helped to establish this pioneering centre along with co-founder Judy Young.

Jane Maher said: “When Judy and I embarked on this project we started by listening to patients and professionals to see what they wanted from a new service.

“We found that supportive care for people as individuals, not just as patients, was essential.

“If we could get this right then other services would be valued more.”

The centre provides pre-treatment sessions, complementary therapies and counselling, and financial advice.

Rosemary Lucey, centre manager, said: “Over the last 25 years we have been at the forefront of pioneering supportive services.

“We have grown from a germ of an idea to a centre that responds to more than 42,000 requests for help a year.

“None of this would have happened without the visionary team that came together with a united aim.

“They had the ability to see how things could be better and the determination to see how it could be done.”