The chairman of Rosemere Cancer Foundation and former High Sheriff of Lancashire, Peter Mileham OBE, has died at the age of 80-years-old following a short illness.
It was Peter, of Fulwood, also a Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire who received his OBE in 2016 for services to Lancashire, who put the “Rosemere” into Rosemere Cancer Centre and Rosemere Cancer Foundation.
Back in 1997 when the centre first opened it was called the Lancashire and Lakeland Cancer Centre. As a respected member of Preston’s business community and marketing director of Liquid Plastics, now Sika Preston, which he had steered to a number of national awards, Peter’s opinion on a name and some logos for a supporting charity was sought.
Diminutive but straight-talking, Peter thought none good enough so came up with Rosemere, a name he coined by combining the red rose of Lancashire with the meres (lakes) of the Lake District.
As it fitted perfectly with the centre’s patient catchment area, it was an instant hit and was adopted not only by the charity but also by the cancer centre itself.
It also led to Peter serving a three-year tenure on Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s management committee until his appointment as National President of the British Chambers of Commerce, which involved a lot of foreign travel, made it impossible for him to continue.
His support for Rosemere Cancer Foundation never wavered though and he returned as chairman in 2018, steering the charity through the difficult years of the Covid pandemic.
Dan Hill, formerly Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s chief officer and now head of charities for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which manages Rosemere Cancer Centre, said: “Peter was a great source of support, encouragement and advice to me and the whole team during our partnership.
“His thinking behind the Rosemere name was genius. From the outset, the cancer centre, supported by the foundation, had ambitions to provide the same world class services as the North West’s two other regional specialist cancer treatment centres, Manchester’s Christie and Merseyside’s Clatterbridge. Both have one word names that are easy for people to remember and Peter was determined our regional centre had the same.”
Dan continued: “Peter was an inspiration. He was not just a colleague but a good friend. We will all miss him, his enthusiasm and great sense of humour. Peter was a people person. Our thoughts are with his family.”
Peter, who was an Honorary Fellow of the University of Central Lancashire and a trustee of Blackburn Cathedral, also had personal reasons for wanting to help Rosemere Cancer Foundation. In 2017, he lost his beloved wife Shelagh to cancer. Shelagh had been a patient at Rosemere Cancer Centre. Peter was also treated there for skin cancer last year.
With Shelagh, Peter had two daughters, solicitor Charlotte and Caroline, who lives in London and works for Google. He was also a grandad to a teenage grandson and six-year-old granddaughter.
A keen gardener and live music and theatre fan, Peter was a member of Ashton’s Fitcess Gym, where just last year he competed in and won his first power lifting competition.
He used the event, which qualified him to compete in the Masters 4 category of the British Powerlifting Championships, to raise funds for Rosemere Cancer Foundation. Dan added: “That was the measure of the man. He was never defined by age and always believed anything you did had to be done with your best shot.”
Thank you, Peter, for all of your kindness and support. You will be sadly missed.
Peter’s funeral will be held on Monday 26th June, 10.45am at Broughton Church. The family have requested family flowers only, but donations to Rosemere in Peter’s memory are welcomed.