I built a cancer centre – then I needed it myself – Award-winning architect David Millar

An architect who
designed a cancer sufferers’ support centre is visiting it himself after
getting the disease.
David Millar was told he had
bowel cancer partway through his work on the derelict chapel but battled the
disease – and now uses the centre he created for after-care support.
David, 53, from Glasgow, received
the National Lottery Award for Heritage last month in recognition of his work
on the centre.

When he first became involved in
the project seven years ago, he had no idea he would need the facilities
David said: “It was just another
project and then I got my diagnosis which really affected me.
“I was pretty low and thought
maybe I wasn’t going to see out this project.
“Then I found myself in the
Beatson Cancer Centre at Gartnavel and had surgery to remove a tumour in my
“I found myself in a ward looking
out of the window – and in the distance I could see the roof-line of  the
“It’s now five years since the
surgery and everything is fine – the chapel is now the Calman Cancer Support
Centre and I pop in every now and then.”
The centre, which opened last
year, was funded by £367,291 from the National Lottery.
David said: “We changed the
interior and made the addition of a reflective garden, and the equivalent of a
two-bedroom flat in terms of space.
“People can go there for support,
­alternative therapies and treatment and it’s wonderful. I have to say, it
probably does the best tasting tea in the whole of Scotland – but then I might
be biased.”
The Royle Family star Ricky
Tomlinson handed over David’s award for Best Heritage Project at this year’s
National Lottery Awards – the annual search for the UK’s favourite
Lottery-funded projects.
Since 1994, £30billion has been
awarded to 400,000 National Lottery Projects across the arts, sport, heritage,
charities, health, education and the environment.

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