Ian Rankin raises money for cancer fight after loss of mother

Crime writer Ian Rankin has spoken of how he wished his mother had been offered better support before her death as he led a personal tour of Edinburgh to raise money for cancer patients.I

Author Ian Rankin speaks to group outside the National Library of Scotland during a tour around Edinburgh's Old Town to support Maggies Centres. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The best-selling author took a group of charity competition winners to walk in the footsteps of his famous detective, John Rebus, while sharing a mix of historic landmarks to personal highlights, ranging from Greyfriars Kirkyard to his local – The Oxford Bar.

Rankin, 56, has chosen to support the charity Maggie’s after visiting their centre at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, which offers practical and emotional support for cancer patients and their families.

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His mother Isobel died in 1979, when Rankin was just 19-years-old.

Although her cause of death was unclear at the time, the Fife-born author believes it may have been cancer.

He told The Scotsman: “There just wasn’t anything like that available at the time. There was nothing like Maggie’s for her.

“I think it is a great idea. Having been in there, it gives a sense of being in a safe haven.

“I would love it if the NHS took a leaf out of Maggie’s book and just aspired to treat someone as a whole person, rather than for their illness.”

The first Maggie’s centre opened in Edinburgh in 1996 by garden designer Maggie Keswick Jencks, who wanted to develop a new approach to cancer care after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer in 1993.

It costs around £2,400 per day to run each centre, which are all funded by donations.

The charity will run its second Culture Crawl on Friday, a 10-mile walk peppered with after-hours glimpses at some of the leading cultural and heritage sites in Edinburgh.

Hundreds of walkers will get access to Fettes College, Edinburgh College of Art and the Scottish National Gallery, accompanied by performances from organist John Kitchen and the National Youth Choir of Scotland.

Maggie’s chief executive Laura Lee said: “Maggie’s Culture Crawls are fantastic events which succeed in capturing the essence of Maggie’s in a way which gives people a truly different experience of each city and the opportunity to raise vital funds to help Maggie’s continue to support anyone affected by cancer.”

Similar events will take place across the country, including Glasgow, London and Liverpool.