THE Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre is internationally renowned - but also dear to the hearts of the people of Glasgow.

So taking on the task of steering the Beatson Cancer Charity is no small feat.

Now, having formed just three years ago, the charity has a new chief executive and is about to enter a new chapter.

After more than 30 years working in management and finance, Graham Soutar has joined the charity, bringing with him experience he says will help the organisation have a more international outlook.

He also has big plans to expand the work already being done by the Beatson Cancer Charity to hubs across the west of Scotland.

Graham said: "The charity has been going for three years now and has achieved a lot in that time.

"However, looking at our services, one of the things we do uniquely is our wellbeing service and we would like to expand that to more community hubs.

"People come from across Scotland to the Beatson but they don't always want to travel and shouldn't have to.

"We have satellite services in places such as Lanarkshire, the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and the New Victoria Hospital but we would like to see more embedded in the community."

Graham returned to Scotland last year after 25 years in Hong Kong and is enjoying being back on home soil.

He and his wife have two children, a daughter Kirsty, born in 1998, and son Daniel, born in 1995, who the 53-year-old wanted to have a strong connection to Scotland and their wider family now they are of university age.

Family is something Graham says is vital to him, having grown up in a close-knit family in Greenock.

He, his two sisters Susan and Gillian, and his parents were brought closer together following the death of Graham's younger brother when Graham was 15.

The former Kelvinside Academy pupil went on to study accountancy at Glasgow University before moving to London to work in finance before moving overseas.

But Graham, who lost his mother to cancer, always felt Scotland to be his home and, over the years, has known friends and relatives to be treated at the Beatson.

He said: "My mum was diagnosed with cancer 10 years ago and went straight into a hospice. By the time she was diagnosed it was really too late for treatment and she died seven weeks later.

"My two sisters and I found it very hard to deal with and should maybe have looked for counselling and support but that wasn't available in the way that it is now.

"So while I don't have direct experience of the Beatson, I am talking to a lot of people now who speak of the importance of specialist counselling and the experience of dealing with cancer and I have insight into that."

Graham, a keen sailor and tennis player, said his financial skills are helping him find ways to increase donations to the charity.

They are also assisting in assessing which projects the charity should fund when staff come to him with ideas that would be outside the scope of NHS funding.

Part of his plan is to look overseas to the ex-pat community he had experience of while living in Hong Kong.

Graham said: "You form very close knit groups when you are living away from home - and home is how I've always thought of Scotland.

"I brought my son back for a visit and as the plane was landing I said to him, 'We're home'.

"It's that notion of family again, when you are away from family you make your own.

"I know there is a lot of respect and affection for the Beatson in our ex-pat communities and I am sure we can gain their support."

Former Beatson Cancer Charity boss David Welch has moved to be Chief Executive Officer at Leeds Hospital Charitable Foundation.

He brought together the Friends of Beatson and the Beatson Oncology Centre Fund, two charities that raised around £1.25m each year and were run solely by volunteers.

The Beatson is the UK's busiest cancer hospital and it was felt one charity would help boost fundraising.

Graham said: "Although we are a fairly new charity, we can trace our past all the way back from the Beatson Oncology Centre Fund to Beatson himself and that was one of the things I felt coming into the charity, was its DNA stretching back to Beatson.

"Then the Friends of the Beatson was like it's heart, so the heart and the DNA have come together to form a very special charity.

"Kindness would be the word I associate with everything we do - kindness is the approach of everyone from our fundraising staff to the staff we fund directly with patients.

"And I want to bring that to my management style and embed that value in the way we work."