Dr Rose Thompson: A Tribute to a Remarkable Woman

Words: Sharon Stevens
Photos: The Thompson Family
Monday 11 March 2024
reading time: min, words

The life of Dr. Rose Thompson touched many, she would stop at nothing in trying to help those in need. Since her death in June 2023, the numerous communities and support groups she started as well as The Rose Thompson Foundation have continued to support those in times of need. Today we remember her with this tribute.

At this time of the year, it's natural to reflect and look back at your experiences. While there will undoubtably be good experiences, sadly, there will also be some challenging ones.

June 2023 saw the passing of Dr Rose Thompson after losing her fight to breast cancer.

Rose's journey with cancer started when her mother died of breast cancer, and sadly, she later lost two sisters to the disease. This led her to train as a radiotherapy radiographer, a job she did for many years, starting in London and then in Nottingham. Her career began in 1977 after 3 years of training at the Nottingham School of Radiotherapy, where she qualified as one of the UK's first black radiotherapy radiographers.

During this period of her career (over thirty years), she gained two discretionary points for her pioneering work with children undergoing radiotherapy and Black and Minority Ethnic communities (BME). She qualified up to Superintendent Grade. 

While supporting others in her role as radiotherapy radiographer, she witnessed the inequality in treatment and support given to those from the BME community. This included information sharing, recognising how cancers react differently to treatment and supporting women with hair loss.

In 2007, Rose was invited to support BME work at the Wandsworth Cancer Resource Centre (Now the Paul D'Auria Cancer Support Centre), where she successfully organised two local cancer awareness-raising seminars attracting 220 community members and the local MP for Tooting, Sadiq Khan. She also assisted a BME cancer patient in creating a much-needed African/Caribbean cancer support group and another group for the Asian community. Rose helped to organise the 2009 National Self Help and Support Group conference based in Manchester. 

She was a significant member of several BME-led and other leading cancer charities. This led to NHS facilities consulting with Rose when undertaking BME cancer-related work. I was fortunate to accompany Rose several times to London, where she delivered presentations and workshops. Something she did tirelessly throughout the UK, raising BME cancer awareness, both in the community and amongst health professionals. 

Over the years, Rose's work has been featured in the Voice newspaper, The Nottingham Evening Post and Nursing Standard, to mention a few. She also made several appearances on BBC East Midlands TV and Central ITV, sharing her passion for ensuring that the community was informed.

In Nottingham, Rose was at the helm of setting up two self-help groups – Friends and Bredrins (FAB) and Sisters Against Cancer (SAC). Both of which are still thriving and making a difference in many lives.

Rose authored two reports entitled “Hear Me Now.” These were launched in the Houses of Parliament in order to highlight the uncomfortable reality of the impact of prostate cancer in Black African Caribbean Men (who are twice as likely to be diagnosed with the condition in comparison to white British men). This led to a national campaign, and the 'Check Tings Out' community clinics that were set up in Nottingham. It also created the culture of talking about prostate cancer, which for many years was a taboo subject. It encouraged men to be honest with themselves, seek help when unwell, and not ignore early symptoms. It also encouraged wives and girlfriends to support their partners in being tested. 

Even when her own health was failing, Rose was there at the end of the phone messaging and talking to those in the community, still supporting them even though she was in immense pain herself.

Rose was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Social Science from Nottingham Trent University, recognising her significant contribution to BME community engagement in preventative cancer care. Since her passing, her work has continued via the charity she co-founded- now renamed The Rose Thompson Foundation. In October 2023, at the Black Achievers Award, Rose was remembered for her selfless care and love for supporting others battling or living with cancer. The award was given in recognition and appreciation of her life, service, and the legacy of her achievements, attainments, and accomplishments. 

Dr Rose Thompson will be sorely missed by her family, friends and the numerous organisations she worked with. The Rose Thompson Foundation and Dr Rose’s family’s goal is that the work she started will continue and be a legacy of her achievements for the future. A funding campaign has been launched for the creation of The Rose Thompson Resource Centre.




Whatsapp Image 2024 03 05 At 13.22.55 (5)
Whatsapp Image 2024 03 05 At 13.22.55 (1)
Whatsapp Image 2024 03 05 At 13.22.55 (2)
Whatsapp Image 2024 03 05 At 13.22.55 (3)

We have a favour to ask

LeftLion is Nottingham’s meeting point for information about what’s going on in our city, from the established organisations to the grassroots. We want to keep what we do free to all to access, but increasingly we are relying on revenue from our readers to continue. Can you spare a few quid each month to support us?

Support LeftLion

Please note, we migrated all recently used accounts to the new site, but you will need to request a password reset

Sign in using

Or using your

Forgot password?

Register an account

Password must be at least 8 characters long, have 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, 1 number and 1 special character.

Forgotten your password?

Reset your password?

Password must be at least 8 characters long, have 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, 1 number and 1 special character.