OUR PATRONS... Well known people, who are championing our cause and helping us to raise awareness

Raising awareness is crucial in our fight against brain tumours.  The general public are not aware of the issues and it is only when faced with the diagnosis of this dreadful disease that many people realise that for the most aggressive of brain tumours there is no cure!  For them and their families it is too late.

If we can generate the same awareness as some of the more pervasive cancers such as breast, leukaemia and prostate cancer, then we too can raise the £millions that is needed for brain tumour research.  We too can change the outcome for future patients.

We are delighted to have the support of our patrons, who are championing our cause and helping us to raise awareness. 

John Bercow

John was elected as the 157th Speaker of the House of Commons on 22nd June 2009.  He has been the Member of Parliament for Buckingham since May 1997.

In June 1999, he was appointed Front Bench Spokesman for Education & Employment.  In July 2000, he was appointed Front Bench Spokesman for Home Affairs.  In September 2001, he was appointed Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury.  From July 2002 to November 2002 he was Shadow Minister for Work & Pensions.  From November 2003 to September 2004, he was Shadow Secretary of State for International Development.

John has served as member of the International Development Select Committee, he co-chaired the All Party Parliamentary Group on Burma, and was vice-Chair of the All Party Groups on the Prevention of Genocide, Africa and Sudan, and Secretary of the All Party Group on Human Rights.  In July 2005, John established the All Party Group on Brain Tumours to raise awareness of issues surrounding brain tumour care.

In September 2007, John was appointed by Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, to lead a review of services for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs.  The final report of the Review was published in July 2008.

John was appointed to the Speaker's Conference on Parliamentary Representation in November 2008.

In November 1998, John was given the award of Backbencher to Watch in The Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year Awards.  In February 2005, in a ballot of his parliamentary colleagues, he won the Channel Four / Hansard Society Political Award for Opposition MP of the Year for 2005.  In December 2005, John was voted the Backbencher of the Year in The House Magazine awards.  John was named Health / International Champion of the Year at the Charity Champion Awards 2007.

John was alerted to the plight of brain tumours in January 2004, by a constituent and was particularly touched by the stories of children.  `There can surely be few more tragic or heartbreaking experiences than for a parent to discover that his or her child has a brain tumour'.

In April 2004 he led the first ever debate on brain tumours in the House of Commons and was shocked at how little attention had been paid to brain tumours before that. ‘I put it to the House that the issue of children with brain tumours is under- debated under-reported and under-funded. In this Parliament, the issue has attracted minimal— dare I say it, derisory—attention. There has been, not one adjournment debate until now, not one oral parliamentary question, and only two written parliamentary questions!’

Furthermore within the debate he went on to say ‘While the media have justifiably devoted coverage to other cancers, they have seemingly overlooked the plight of children diagnosed with brain tumours, giving scant coverage to that plight. The apparent low incidence of this type of cancer, by comparison with other forms, has caused the brain tumour community to be poorly supported and funded’

Philip Treacy

The most celebrated hat designer of the age Philip Treacy became a patron of Brain Tumour Research in 2011.

Philip was born in Ahascragh, a tiny village in County Galway in the West of Ireland where he lived with his parents, seven brothers and a sister.

In 1985 he moved to Dublin to study fashion at the National College of Art & Design and in 1988 he won a place on the MA fashion design course at the Royal College of Art in London.

He graduated with first class honours and set up a workshop in the basement of Isabella and Detmar Blow’s house on Elizabeth Street, Belgravia.

By 1991 Philip was designing hats for Lagerfeld at Chanel and in 1992 he won his second British Designer of the year award (Philip was to win three more) and started designing hats for the High Street.

In 1993 he staged his first fashion show- all black hats- in the Harvey Nichols department store during London Fashion Week. The supermodels of the era- Naomi Campbell, Yasmin Le Bon, Kate Moss, Stella Tennant and Christy Turlington- all modelled for him. He was now working with Gianni Versace and Valentino and in 1994 he opened his own shop at 69 Elizabeth Street.

By 2004 Philip was taking his aesthetic into other disciplines, using his sculptural forms as a medium for other objects, such as glass wear and furniture.

In 2005 he created the hat the Duchess of Cornwall worn to her wedding to HRH the Prince of Wales.

In 2007 Philip was appointed as an honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). The honour was conferred on Philip by Her Majesty The Queen in recognition of his services to the British Fashion industry.

In 2011 Philip designed 36 hats for the Royal Wedding of the Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge on the 29th April (including the hat worn by Princess Beatrice which was later auctioned for charity raising in excess of £80,000).

Philip has always worked with pop royalty such as Grace Jones, Rhianna and Lady Gaga. In 2012, in collaboration with Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy, Philip designed the gold Egyptian hat worn by Madonna at the Super bowl.

Philip has said “I make hats because I love hats” and so he is the perfect supporter for our national Wear A Hat Day Campaign.

Commenting on Wear A Hat Day Philip said “Brain Tumour Research's Wear A Hat Day is an excellent initiative; fashion is a feeling and a mood and therefore how better to express your passion and commitment to a subject such as brain tumour research than by wearing a fantastic hat?  It immediately creates a statement and it doesn't matter what the hat is or how much it costs; everybody who gets involved will feel a million dollars on the day, whilst also raising much needed research funds and awareness."

Philip’s support as patron has extended to donating wonderful hats for auction and for our Wear A Hat Day campaign in 2012 he designed a beautifully elegant, limited edition brooch featuring his pagoda hat and signature.

See Philip's website for more information.


Mark Hunter MBE

Mark Hunter MBE Patron Brain Tumour Research Funding FightOlympic champion Mark Hunter MBE joined Brain Tumour Research in 2013 as Patron and Ambassador for our annual Conquer it Together campaign.

Mark won an Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Great Britain's first ever lightweight rowing medal, along with his partner Zac Purchase, and went on to win silver at the London 2012 Olympics.

Mark’s rowing career started at the age of 14 at the Poplar Blackwall & District Rowing Club where, having been introduced to the sport by his father, his dream of representing his country was born and his desire to achieve Olympic glory stirred.

He quickly progressed through the GB rowing ranks, representing his country in the World Junior Championships in 1995 and 1996 before going on to achieve success at the U23 World Rowing Championships from 1997 to 2000.

In 2001 Mark made the important decision to change class and race as a lightweight, and he has never looked back.

Success in the men’s four in 2004 during the World Cup series was followed by being appointed captain of the prestigious Leander Club in 2005 and a win in the double scull in 2006 World Cup.

Then, in 2008, a year in which he and Zac Purchase were the only unbeaten crew in world rowing, he confirmed his status as one of the leading rowers in his class by winning an Olympic gold medal in emphatic style.

Following his triumph in China, Mark took a year away from competitive rowing and spent time coaching at UCLA.

In November 2010, confirming that they were back at the top of their game, Mark and Zac won the World Championships in New Zealand and then returned to the Olympics in 2012, achieving a silver medal on the same stretch of river he grew up on.

A lifelong West Ham fan, Mark is a Freeman of the River Thames and has a regular column in London’s Evening Standard.

Mark was among many in the athlete community affected by the loss of a colleague to a brain tumour in early 2013. Mark recognises the importance of our continuous brain tumour research programme, and is committed to supporting our work in funding the fight against brain tumours, helping us to raise the £7 million target needed to fund seven centres of research excellence across the UK.

Ian Reddington

Ian Reddington Patron Brain Tumour Research Funding FightIan is known to millions of TV viewers and is the only actor to create major roles in two most popular soaps Tricky Dicky, Albert Square’s lothario Market Manager in Eastenders and Vernon the hapless drummer in Coronation Street. Very different roles but both of which captured the attention of the public.

He has also made appearances in cult classics Dr. Who, Shameless and the original Highlander film. But it was in Theatre where Ian first plied his trade and he has appeared in countless cities across the country in such Award Winning plays as The Woman In Black, Dead Funny, High School Musical 2 and Gasping. In London’s West End he appeared in the Olivier Award Winning musical Our House as well as the original production of Piaf.

Ian has also worked with The Royal Shakespeare Company and has had countless TV appearances including Inspector Morse, Doctors, The Bill, Holby City and Casualty.

"I don’t know anyone who has been touched by a brain tumour, but I can’t believe that in this day and age there should be a cancer for which so little is known because compared to other cancers there has been very little research, due to a lack of funding. Having read the stories of so many children, young adults and mums and dads that have been affected as well as the families that have lost them, I couldn’t help but get involved.  I implore business leaders and the general public to get involved too and raise much needed funds for brain tumour research."


Craig Gibbons

Craig Gibbons may not be well-known yet, but he is certainly hoping to become a household name after the 2012 London Olympics.  Craig, a swimmer, has qualified to represent Team GB in the 4 x 100 metres free-style relay and hopes that by posting the quickest team of any competitor at the recent trials (a Personal Best which shaved 0.5 seconds off his previous PB) will secure him a place for the 50 metre freestyle event.

Craig’s love of swimming hasn’t always been apparent.  At the age of three or four his mother decided she wanted him to be able to swim confidently when they went on holiday, but to start with Craig hated it and kicked and punched to try and avoid going into the pool.  Gradually, however, his teacher won him over, to the point that Craig started to make a fuss about getting out of the pool.

Swimming lessons continued, but, by the age of six, Craig and his mother were becoming a little disillusioned with the classes.  He wasn’t being moved up and was told that he was never going to make it as a swimmer.  At this point, Craig’s mother moved her son to the Maxwell Swim Club at Aqua Vale in Aylesbury, Bucks, who immediately saw his potential. 

Having attended his local primary school in Steeple Claydon up until the age of 11, Craig transferred to the Buckingham School in Buckingham where he swam for the school on several occasions, including at the World School Games in the South of France.

In order to be closer to training in Aylesbury, Craig attended the Cottesloe School in Wing for sixth form.  At the age of 18 he went to Loughborough University to study Sports Science, with lots of opportunities to continue his swimming coaching.

Following completion of his degree course, Craig returned to Aylesbury and Maxwell’s, where he now has a different coach.  He has already competed in the European Championships in Istanbul, Rijeka and Vienna, the World Championships in Manchester and Melbourne and the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. At the European Short Course Championships in Istanbul in December 2009, the final race of the event was the 4 x 50 metre Male Freestyle Relay. Craig led the British team on the first leg clocking a time of 21.49 making him the third fastest British Swimmer of all time; the British Quartet went on to set a new British Record.

So the last thing for Craig to tick off is the Olympics.  He says: “I am really excited and can’t wait to compete. There is no greater achievement than to represent one’s country and at a home Olympic Games - it is obviously going to be a once in a life-time opportunity.”   Remembering the World Championships in Manchester, Craig says: “It was absolutely phenomenal – there were 11,000 spectators and even people who didn’t know me were cheering me just because I was British.  At the London Olympics I will be in front of a crowd of 17,000 spectators poolside, which will be really special.”

Craig was thrilled to be approached to be a patron of Brain Tumour Research.  Being an athlete he really understands how important the brain is and has been shocked to discover how woefully underfunded research into brain tumours is, despite the numbers affected.  The fact that he is able to support a local charity in this way makes the connection even more special. 

See Craig's website for more information.

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