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Surgeons 1, cancer 0: Sports veteran’s debt to hospital
Buy this photo » James Alexander Gordon was treated at the Blenheim Ward at the Churchill Hospital. Picture: OX62778 Ric Mellis
ONE of the most recognisable names in British broadcasting has been back to the ward where he was treated for cancer of the larynx.
James Alexander Gordon, famed for reading the classified football results, was treated at the Blenheim Ward at the Churchill Hospital in Headington in June this year after being diagnosed.
Mr Gordon, 77, retired from a 40-year career with the BBC last year and underwent a total laryngectomy and is still receiving treatment.
Currently he is unable to speak, but hopes to soon.
All head and neck cancer services were moved to the Blenheim Ward in March. Previously they were split between the Churchill Hospital and John Radcliffe Hospital.
Speaking with the aid of a voice box, Mr Gordon said: “My broadcasting career of 40 years at the BBC ended in May when I was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx.
“It was a great shock, but the care and consideration of the team on Blenheim Ward, under the guidance of ward sister, Heather Talbot, was exemplary.
“It is no ordinary ward. It is a happy place to be with staff full of great humour and warmth. Their caring attitude is second to none and they filled me with hope for the future.”
His wife Julia added: “James has felt the benefits of being able to go to the same place. He is able to see people who know him, which has been a particular help, as he has been unable to speak since the operation – although he hopes to soon.”
The presenter, popularly known by his initials as JAG, joined the BBC in 1972. He went on to become one of the most recognisable voices on radio, best known for reading the classified check of the football results every Saturday at 5pm on Sports Report on BBC Radio Five Live. He followed in the footsteps of John Webster.
Announcing his retirement in July following surgery to remove his larynx, Edinburgh-born Mr Gordon said: “It’s with great sorrow that I have to give up the most exciting part of my career, the classified football results. They have been my life.”
Mr Gordon, who lives in Reading, received treatment at the 18-bed Blenheim Ward in June and was back there on on Thursday.
Mrs Gordon added: “I was always made extremely welcome on the ward and shown how I could care for him when he came home.
“His days were busy seeing doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and speech therapists and everything fitted together like pieces of a jigsaw.
“At first he was a mass of tubes, but one by one they became unnecessary and after 10 days he was even able to eat and drink.
“I can’t thank everyone enough. Having both the ward and outpatients together has been really helpful.”
Nurse Heather Talbot said: “Receiving such positive feedback from Mr Gordon and the praise he has given for all staff on the Blenheim Ward has been truly gratifying.”
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