Former Dr Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson returned to Addenbrooke’s yesterday where he was treated for pancreatic cancer.
The rocker vowed to play a benefit gig for the Cambridge hospital as soon as he was back at full strength after his scans came back all clear in September last year.
Proceeds from the sell-out gig at the Cambridge Junction on March 6 will go towards Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust, which spearheads charitable activity at the hospital.
The 67-year-old was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in 2012 and went on to play a ‘farewell tour’, having been given only 10 months to live.
But after being advised to meet a team of specialist doctors at Addenbrooke’s, the musician underwent 11 hours of surgery on April 30 last year to successfully remove a 3kg (7lb 11oz) neuroendocrine tumour from his pancreas.
He has praised the hospital, saying: “What can I say about Addenbrooke’s? To me it’s like a wonderful, magical place. They saved my life, it was fantastic. Certainly when I was in there I was suffering quite a bit of discomfort, but what those people did, I mean they saved my life.
“To me, everybody at Addenbrooke’s from the consultants to the cleaners to the nurses are heroes.”
Emmanuel Huguet, the surgical lead for Johnson’s operation, said: “Treating Wilko was a great example of the sustained teamwork it takes to deal with complicated tumours. Wilko was very brave throughout, and it’s wonderful to see him return to what he is famous for and what he does brilliantly”.
Jo Elliott, from Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Wilko is choosing to support our much-loved hospital with his first full comeback gig. What a wonderful way of saying “thank you”. Tickets sold out within two days and the news has created a real buzz around the hospital and among our supporters.
“The money raised from the night will help us continue to support a range of needs, flexibly and quickly, as they arise, to help make our fantastic hospital even better”.
Before his diagnosis Johnson had been branching out into television, where he played the King’s executioner, Ilyn Payne, in the massively successful HBO series, Game of Thrones.