It’s with great sadness that the NCRI joins the cancer research community in paying tribute to Professor Gordon McVie who sadly passed away last month.

Gordon was a hugely significant figure in global cancer research and a founding member of the NCRI, co-leading the creation of Cancer Research UK through the merger of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and the Cancer Research Campaign where he was Director for 12 years. Later, Gordon became a senior consultant at the European Institute for Oncology (IEO) in Milan and launched the education platform and open-access journal eCancer which aims to raise the standard of research and care, particularly focussing on under-resourced communities.

I first met Gordon during my first job in the charity sector as a Research Grants Officer at the charity Tenovus Cancer Care, where his wife Claudia McVie was Chief Executive and where I worked for nearly a decade.

During this time Gordon took me under his wing and was incredibly supportive and generous with his time. I have many fond memories of desperately trying to keep up with him as he strode across airports, research institutes or conference halls- a master networker with boundless energy and enthusiasm, constantly seeking to make fruitful connections and always greeted by those he met with great warmth and broad smiles.

I also saw first-hand how much he genuinely cared for people and his passion for improving the lives of people affected by cancer, always taking time to listen to their problems, offering support and solutions where he could.

Gordon was a big personality with sometimes provocative opinions. He relished debate and was never shy of expressing his dissatisfaction with the status quo, but all of this was firmly rooted in an over-riding desire for things to be better for people affected by cancer.

Gordon made a huge impact in his life and influenced cancer research and treatment in ways that still reverberate today. He will be very fondly remembered by me, as by all who knew him, and our thoughts go out to Gordon’s family, friends and colleagues.

Ian Lewis

Head of Strategy and Initiatives, NCRI