A former Royal Navy submarine weapons engineer who now uses his skills to keep The Christie’s radiotherapy machines in perfect health is using his military might to take on the Manchester Marathon.

Lee Nixon, aged 41, recently joined The Christie after a long and distinguished career in the armed forces, and will be based at the specialist cancer treatment centre’s new facility which is currently being built in Macclesfield.

When the new centre opens later this year, it will treat around 1,500 existing cancer patients each year and provide around 46,000 appointments. The Christie at Macclesfield will provide a range of holistic services including radiotherapy, chemotherapy and a wider range of clinical trials than at present.

Lee explained: “Whilst in the Navy, I was a chief weapons engineer working on submarines, maintaining their complex navigation, weapon, and communication systems. I learnt my engineering trade across all three in service classes of submarine which took me all over the globe. When I left after 23 years service, I wanted to start a second career within an organisation which had similar core values and ethos to the forces. It was during this research that I came across The Christie, and I realised that the basic components of military RADAR systems which I maintained were similar to that of linear accelerators – the huge machines which deliver radiotherapy treatment to thousands of Christie patients every year.
“It was obvious that not only could I transfer all my experience, but progress my skills further whilst helping to maintain and develop patient care.”

Lee started earlier this summer, and is currently working at other Christie centres, as well as helping set things up in Macclesfield as it gets ready to start treating patients. Lee will be responsible for maintaining both the linear accelerators and scanners to ensure the machines will be safe, accurate, and available for patient care at all times.

He said: “Living in Middlewich myself, I know how important this new centre will be to people in south and east Cheshire. It will save them so many hours of unnecessary travel by being able to be treated closer to home, and I’m thrilled my military skills will be put to good use.”

Lee, who is married to Sarah and has 3 young children, is a keen runner and has done marathons before, but he decided to do this one to support the cause he now works for.

He added: “The Christie charity has made this new centre possible so I’m delighted to do my bit to raise money. I do a lot of running but marathons are always a challenge, it’s a challenge I take on knowing that what I do will be vital to helping cancer patients and I’m delighted to do my bit.”

The Manchester Marathon is the UK’s second largest marathon and takes place on Sunday October 10. 

The Christie charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust providing enhanced services over and above what the NHS funds. This includes money for care and treatment, research, education and extra patient services. Gifts from the public make a huge difference to the care and treatment that The Christie is able to provide to patients and their families. 

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust was the first specialist trust to be rated as ‘Outstanding’ twice (in 2016 and 2018) by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It referred to The Christie as ‘a leader in cancer care’ and ‘a pioneer in developing innovative solutions to cancer care.’ The CQC praised the Trust’s staff which it said ‘go the extra mile to meet the needs of patients and their families’ and that they were ‘exceptionally kind and caring.’ In 2017, the CQC rated The Christie as the best specialist trust in the country, and one of the top three trusts overall in England.