In 2009 Nigel Lewis-Baker and John Blackburn, both cancer patients, launched their first local support group as Topic of Cancer at what was then the Preston Cross hotel. Nigel was being treated at St. Luke’s Cancer Centre at the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford and John at The Marsden, so they had across-the-board experiences and contacts to build upon.

A few years later they had groups in Dorking and Edinburgh, yes there is a story to that one, and later in Guildford they opened a support group, a cancer choir and specialist fitness classes. They also extended their remit to include fundraising for the Surrey University immunotherapy research team who cared for Nigel, and for whom he took part in three clinical trials. Sadly, John died in 2015 and in 2019 Nigel decided to stand down after ten years for young blood and new ideas. This sadly coincided with Covid 19 and national lockdown.

After the pandemic it was apparent that support groups had virtually disappeared and people were reluctant to venture out so Nigel decided he should start again and created the Cancer Chat Café together with another patient from the Marsden, Chris Boughey. Again, this gave them the link between the Royal Marsden in London and Sutton and St Luke's in Guildford.

CCC meets three times a month to provide an option in venues and also times to help members with work or other commitments to join in. There are no charges for our meetings, and we hope patients, their families and friends, other charities and specialists will come to meetings to share their own experiences, although we do not spend all the time on cancer.

We partner with Topic of Cancer, to offer our members access to their choir and fitness classes whilst they refer their support group enquiries to us. There are plans to partner other organisations such as the Harry Edwards Centre near Shere who offer complementary therapies and retreats.


About Nigel Lewis-Baker

Nigel Lewis-Baker MBE

Nigel Lewis-Baker MBE

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.

Diagnosed with inoperable, incurable and, then, local advanced prostate cancer in May 2004 Nigel had to take early retirement and in 2007 was introduced to the Surrey University research team initiated by the Prostate Project, of which he later became a trustee.

He took part in three clinical trials for immunotherapy under Professor Hardev Pandha and, having already launched Topic of Cancer as local cancer support groups, he agreed to extend the charity to fundraising. The team is now one of the leading establishments in immunotherapy, that has itself become frontline treatment for many cancers.

Along the way Nigel took on extended walks, John O’Groats to Land’s End, threw himself out of a perfectly good aeroplane and paraded in public in frock and wigs to raise funds and awareness.

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 received many awards from charities, local authorities and media but the pinnacle was being awarded an MBE in 2014 for his work with cancer patients.

Nigel Lewis-Baker sadly passed away on Sunday, 3rd March 2024.


Founded as a local support group in 2009 ToC became a fundraiser for the immunotherapy research being conducted in Guildford. The charity provides a support group in Guildford, ToC Fit exercise classes and ToC Voices choir, which all welcome anyone with a cancer experience.