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Our history

We’ve been providing support and information about lymphoma for over 35 years, helping thousands of people affected by the UK’s fifth most common cancer. 

Read about how the charity started and our progress over the years to become Lymphoma Action - the only UK charity dedicated to lymphoma.


We were delighted to welcome Mark Harrison as our new Chair of Trustees - taking over from Gordon Johns, who stepped down after ten years.  There were many other highlights in 2022 including being awarded the PIF TICK – the UK’s only assessed quality mark for print and online health and care information; launching two new animations including What is lymphoma?; moving to a new office which better reflected our ways of working; holding our first Volunteer Recognition Awards and developing a robust policy strategy led by a new, dedicated post.


2021 was a special year for Lymphoma Action as we celebrated our 35 year anniversary! 

Throughout 2021 we had a special focus on ‘positive mental wellbeing’ in all our activities as this reflects everything we do every day to support people affected by lymphoma. 


Many of our services moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic. We created a new closed Facebook support group, created wellbeing videos and ran informative webinars, launched our podcast series Lymphoma Voices and created a comprehensive area on our website about COVID-19 and lymphoma. It was a challenging year for everyone, but we were proud to still deliver all our vital services for people affected by lymphoma.


We were sad to say goodbye to our President Professor David Linch, who dedicated 28 years to the charity, but also delighted to welcome Professor John Radford as our new President. The British Medical Association (BMA) recognised the value of three of our projects at the Patient Information Awards and our clinical trials information service (TrialsLink) celebrated its third birthday.


We become Lymphoma Action in April 2018 - launching our new name with a fresher look and a new website to make sure we reach even more people affected by lymphoma. 

Ropinder Gill becomes Lymphoma Action's new chief executive in August and we appoint a full time member of staff to focus on developing volunteering across the charity - which includes our first volunteer experience survey.

Our clinical trials in lymphoma films are highly commended in the BMA Patient Information Awards 2018 and our animation explaining lymphoma to children is shortlisted in the Charity Film Awards. The Live your Life programme is awarded the AbbVie Big Ideas for Better Health Award 2018 for Supporting Self-Management and Self-Care .


We roll out Live your Life - living with and beyond lymphoma - our survivorship programme, helping hundreds of people who have come to the end of their treatment, or are on watch and wait, to take control of their lives.


Lymphoma Association pilots a lymphoma specific Clinical Psychologist programme, recognising the need for lymphoma specific counselling and support.

Lord Menzies Campbell joins the Lymphoma Association as Patron.


Lymphoma Association teams up with Royal College of GPs to launch a training course for GPs that will help them spot lymphoma earlier and provide the best possible care to people with lymphoma.


We launch a project to vastly improve our online information offering for people affected by lymphoma, resulting in a surge in the number of people who visit our website.


Jonathan Pearce is appointed as Lymphoma Association chief executive.


Founding trustee Felicity Hilder, wife of the late Tim Hilder, is awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list.

Lymphoma Association accredited with The Information Standard quality mark in recognition of its excellence in producing patient information.


The Association celebrates its 25th anniversary year, with a special thanksgiving service in St Martin-in-the-Fields in September and a musical evening in West Wycombe Park. 

A fundraising football match between soap stars and former Derby County FC players is attended by more than 1,000 people.

The charity features on the television news twice as part of Lymphatic Cancer Awareness Week and launches an e-newsletter system for the first time.


The Lymphoma Association helpline is reaccredited with The Helplines Association (THA) Quality Standard.


The PITS campaign is launched to raise awareness about lymphoma in the under 30s age group and joint regional patient conferences are organised with Leukemia CARE. 


The Lymphoma Association begins to provide booklets and information sheets about lymphoma free of charge to health professionals and a revamped website is launched.


The Lymphoma Association helpline achieves the Telephone Helplines Association (THA) Quality Standard and throughout the year nearly 6,000 enquiries are received.

Sir Menzies Campbell fronts the Lymphoma Association’s BBC Lifeline Appeal.

The Lymphoma Association’s income rises to over £1 million.


The first annual Beacons of Hope Award ceremony is held and the Lymphoma Association wins the GlaxoSmithKline Impact Award which recognises and promotes excellence in community healthcare.


The Lymphoma Association hosts a global press conference in London to mark World Lymphoma Awareness Day and the Lymphatic Cancer Alliance launches the Lymphoma Manifesto. 

The charity’s Lymphomas booklet is awarded first prize in the British Medical Association patient information awards, the first of several such accolades to be received over the coming years.


Lymphoma Association funds five clinical nurse specialist positions in NHS haematology units.

The Lymphoma Association sponsors the watch and wait clinical trial for patients with low grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).


The Lymphoma Association helps found the Lymphoma Coalition, an international network of patient groups. The LIFEsite website for young people is launched.


The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) invites the Lymphoma Association to submit a report to present patients’ views about the use of rituximab alongside standard chemotherapy for high grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma.


The charity is awarded a Communiqé Award for best use of its website.


The first Lymphatic Cancer Awareness Week is launched.


The Lymphoma Association moves to its premises in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire and the helpline becomes a freephone service.


HDLA becomes the Lymphoma Association and a website is launched.


The Medical Advisory Panel (a group of clinicians who specialise in the field of lymphoma) is formed to advise the helpline team. The Vinca (periwinkle) is introduced as the logo because of the use of one of its derivatives as an ingredient in treatment for lymphoma.


Tim Hilder loses his battle against lymphoma. The HDA becomes the Hodgkin’s Disease and Lymphoma Association (HDLA) and handles 2,000 enquiries.


Marti Caine (who is receiving treatment for NHL) appeals to the nation on Radio 4 ‘The Week’s Good Cause’. By the end of the year there are 1,000 members.


HDA moves from Tim and Felicity Hilder’s dining room to its first office accommodation.


HDA starts producing its own literature and the helpline is established.


HDA becomes a membership organisation. By the end of the year it has 147 members and an income of nearly £1,500.


The Hodgkin’s Disease Association (HDA) was granted its charity status by the Charity Commission for England and Wales in June. The idea for a support group for patients and families affected by Hodgkin’s Disease came from two Hodgkin’s patients, Lewis Cash and Richard Franklin. With the active support of Dr Tony Jelliffe, the founder of the British National Lymphoma Investigation, they brought together a group of former patients to found the Hodgkin’s Disease Association in 1983. Lewis became the first chair. Tim Hilder was invited to join the group in 1984 and took over the chair in 1985. The first telephone helplines were operated from Tim and Felicity Hilder’s front room.