Nigel Lewis Baker MBE

We are sorry to announce that Nigel Lewis-Baker, our Honorary President, sadly passed away on Sunday, 3rd March.  We offer our deepest sympathy to Nigel’s wife, Janet and their family and loved ones.

Nigel led an amazing and varied life in the military and international airlines, setting up his own businesses in airline services, management consultancy, printing, web design and a fleet of mobile car valeting vans. In May 2004 his life was changed with the diagnosis of inoperable, incurable, local advanced prostate cancer.

In 2009 Nigel and a friend set up Topic of Cancer to offer cancer patients and their families support. and as a patient of Prof Hardev Pandha undergoing an immunotherapy clinical trial,  he expanded the charity in 2013 to help fund cancer immunotherapy research at the University of Surrey. The team is now one of the leading establishments in immunotherapy, that has itself become frontline standard treatment for many cancers. Cancer immunotherapy was then a barely recognised science, but over the past ten years Nigel worked tirelessly to raise funds for equipment, annual maintenance, staff costs and some PhD students, as well as taking part in two further clinical trials.

In 2017, Nigel also instituted the ToC Voices choir and ToC Fit exercise classes to give added benefits to those going through a cancer experience. These support groups are thriving.  Nigel stood down as chair in 2019 but has continued to support and work for Topic of Cancer, his latest contribution being a partnership between the support group, Cancer Chat Café, that he had started, and ToC.

Nigel also worked with other national charities as spokesman, campaigner, public speaker and appeared many times on radio and TV as well as being flown to New York to speak with the United Nations on non-communicable diseases. He has received many awards from charities, local authorities and media but the pinnacle was being awarded an MBE in 2014 by HM the Queen for his services to people with cancer.

Nigel leaves a wonderful legacy, dedicated to not only raising money and awareness of cancer immunotherapy and the University cancer research team who looked after him, but also offering comfort, hope and inspiration for all those touched by cancer.  His sense of humour, resilience and bravery shone through; who can forget Nigel parading in public in frock and wigs in front of the House, throwing himself out of a perfectly good aeroplane or walking the length of the country from John O Groats to Lands End to raise funds and awareness.  He wrote poetry, appeared as an extra in the movie Gladiator, volunteered at various National Trust properties and also acted as a celebrant – and so the list of his talents goes on!

Nigel leaves a wife, three children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and countless friends.  He will be missed by each and every one of us.

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