A CANCER survivor has celebrated the gift of life given to him by a wonder drug.

Roy Murden, of Smiths Field, Colchester, was told he had four years to live when he was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia.

That was 12 years ago, and today he celebrates his 75th birthday.

Medics put Roy on the £30,000-a-year drug imatinib as part of a trial after the treatment he had been on stopped working.

He continues to take four capsules every day to keep him fighting fit.

Funding for the drug was made available thanks to Dr Marion Wood, consultant haematologist, at Colchester General Hospital.

Roy held a medieval banquet yesterday to celebrate. He said: “My life is completely reliant on Dr Wood.

“It is was like an extension to my life. The worry about whether I would see next week was lifted.”

Roy was first given the drug at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, for three months after he had been on other cancer drugs for about three years.

When they stopped working, Roy had to spend all day on a drip.

At the time he was given about four years to live, then everything changed.

He said: “I went on the drug and I have never looked back.”

The drug was made available to Roy, a former taxi driver, who has eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild, from Colchester General Hospital.

It is now available on the NHS in north east Essex.

Roy decided to hand over his collection of London Mint coins at yesterday’s celebration at the Little Crown pub in Short Wyre Street, Colchester.

He gave them to friends and family, wardens at the John Lampon Court housing complex where he lives and Dr Wood and her staff.

The medieval theme came about after Roy discovered his ancestor, Sir Richard Murden, was knighted in 1618.