Bob Simmonds, a retired production systems analyst with Iveco Ford, had his life turned upside down when he was diagnosed with kidney cancer.

He was told he had cancer in his right kidney in December 2008, and his left kidney was atrophied.

He said: “Travel, even for a weekend away with family, must be finely calculated, or away-from-home dialysis organised.

“The prospect of never seeing old friends and familiar places overseas was like bereavement. The pleasure in food was another significant loss. Dietary restrictions and the fact that poor kidney function affects both appetite and taste changed this part of my life.

“Dialysis, life-giving though it is, removes from life a sense of autonomy and the ‘spice’ of spontaneity.”

His groundbreaking operation allowed him to take back control of his life.

Mr Simmonds said: “Since the surgery I have resumed normal activities, among them walking on the North Yorkshire Moors, on Hadrian’s Wall and trips to Borneo, Australia, Canada, Turkey and Thailand.

“Had I not been at the Churchill, I would have had a future shaped by lifetime dialysis-dependency, my health compromised and family life forever changed.”

Now he and his wife are supporters of the Friends of Renal Oncology Group (FROG) and Urology Cancer Research and Education (UCARE), established in Oxford in 2007 by a group of doctors and clinicians.