Leading doctor honoured

Professor Mike Griffin with guests at the village party.
Professor Mike Griffin with guests at the village party.

A north Northumberland village hosted a party at the weekend for a world-renowned cancer specialist, who has been awarded the OBE.

Professor Mike Griffin, who set up the Northern Oesphago-Gastric Cancer Unit in Newcastle as well as more recently running the Oesphagoose awareness campaign, had a holiday home in Bamburgh until very recently and his three children were christened in St Aidan’s Church.

Following the announcement of the award in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, two former patients – Monica Chambers, of Bamburgh, and Dave Moor, of Seahouses – and others organised the event ahead of Professor Griffin’s trip to Buckingham Palace in October.

His long-standing friend from his days at medical school, local GP David Gill, also lives in Bamburgh and Dr Gill gave a speech of congratulations at last Friday’s event and presented Professor Griffin with a book that contains, among other things, letters from more than 60 patients and colleagues.

Entertainment was provided by Rev Pauline Fellowes and friends from Seahouses Methodist Church and Rev Fellowes sang a solo version of You Raise Me Up on behalf of all his patients.

Lord Walton, of Detchant, who was Dean of the medical school at Newcastle University when Professor Griffin was a student, also made a surprise appearance and speech.

The Oesaphagoose awarenss campaign, based here in the North East, is now in its fifth year and since the publicity gained from Lord Philip Gould’s treatment for oesphageal cancer by Professor Griffin and his team, a national oesophageal and gastric cancer fund has been set up, which will help raise the profile of this cancer more nationally, alongside the Be Clear on Cancer initiative.

The Tumour Site Specific Group for Oesphago-Gastric Cancer has been chaired by Professor Griffin, who has also served on the SAC in general surgery and was president of the Association of Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland from 2004 to 2006.

He is the president elect of the European Society of Oesphagology and is on the council for the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh.