CLAN’s new chairman lends business experience

As the charity sector and business community forge closer links with every passing year, a leading cancer support charity will be able to call upon extensive experience and expertise from within as its new chairman prepares to start 2013 with a fresh challenge.

Robbie Duncan, 62, has been appointed chairman of CLAN Cancer Support and aims to continue the organisation’s impressive growth as it enters the next stage of its development.

A director of CLAN since 2009, Robbie served as vice-chairman for a year prior to his appointment to the chairman’s seat in November and is looking forward to his term in office.

Having launched his career as a chartered accountant, the Edinburgh University graduate rose to hold several key management positions. He served as a director of transport giant FirstGroup during its global expansion and also put his skills to good use as a Governor of Robert Gordon University.

Mr Duncan, an Aberdonian and former Robert Gordon’s College pupil, said: “There is no doubt the parallels between business and the charity sector are becoming more and more prominent and we are fortunate at CLAN to have a tremendous amount of experience to call upon. Each of the directors has something different to offer and we aim to use that to our advantage.

“The common bond is that we are all passionate about the work of CLAN and although the charity has grown significantly, the core values have never been lost. The aim is to ‘comfort always’ and that is our motivation.

“While we do have to be hard-nosed in terms of business decisions, it is certainly a far less autocratic atmosphere than in industry and we work as a team to ensure the CLAN vision is at the heart of everything we do. I certainly find it a far more inspiring environment than that of big business. Everyone connected with CLAN is part of a big family, from clients and volunteers to directors and employees.”

Supporting that family is the greatest single challenge facing the charity, which in 2011 moved into its purpose-built CLAN House headquarters on Westburn Road in Aberdeen. The centre incorporates CLAN Haven, a 27-bedroom wing providing accommodation for clients and their families during periods of treatment at nearby Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Mr Duncan added: “There is no escaping the fact that CLAN is now a major organisation. The creation of CLAN House represented a significant investment and realisation of a long term ambition held by many dedicated people. Our annual fundraising target, to support the ongoing work in Aberdeen and at our other centres, is in excess of £2million. We have 39 full-time equivalent employees and a team of more than 300 volunteers, with a strong network of support centres across a wide geographical area and also our thriving retail operation.

“We run a very tight ship, with a comprehensive business plan, and it is a challenge my fellow directors and I thrive on. We have to continue to innovate in a very competitive sector and in a challenging economic climate.

“Not only do we take a commercial approach, but we also have a wonderful relationship with the business community. Increasingly, companies and organisations are placing great importance on their corporate and social responsibility – leading to excellent opportunities to work together to build support in both practical and financial terms.”

Mr Duncan has succeeded Sue Paterson in the chairman’s role, following her five years of service. Dr Vijay Jandial, who joined CLAN’s Board earlier this year, has been appointed vice-chairman.

CLAN Cancer Support is an independent charity which provides comfort support and information, free of charge, for anyone, of any age, affected by any type of cancer. CLAN aims to support people to reduce anxiety, stress and to increase their ability to cope with the effects of a serious illness. Based in Aberdeen, the charity covers the whole of Grampian, Orkney and Shetland. CLAN has a presence in Ballater, Inverurie, Peterhead, Stonehaven, Kirkwall and Lerwick.

For further information about CLAN Cancer Support please call (01224) 647 000 or visit

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