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Former Beaconsfield Mayor and Charity Life President to be awarded British Empire Medal

| October 14, 2020

Rosemary and Sandy Saunders at Speaker’s House on Wear A Hat Day for brain tumours in 2017. (Image supplied by Brain Tumour Research)

A former Mayor of Beaconsfield and Life President of the charity Brain Tumour Research has received the news that he is to be awarded the prestigious British Empire Medal (BEM).

Sandy Saunders, 85, said he felt ‘privileged‘ and ‘humbled‘ to be given the title in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. The recognition comes for his services to charity.

Losing his eldest daughter to a brain tumour in 2002 led Sandy to set up the Diana Ford Trust to fund research to find a cure for the disease.

In 2008, the Diana Ford Trust re-registered as Brain Tumour Research, using its cash deposits to provide seed-funding for the first stage of the new national charity’s funding and awareness campaign.

Sandy said: ‘I feel very privileged and humbled by the news, especially when you bear in mind how many people are doing such good work. It is a great acknowledgement. I am thrilled to be singled out, but also very conscious how many other people deserve recognition.

My family are also thrilled and excited and I understand have gone berserk on social media, although I haven’t been able to see it, not being on social media myself!

Having lived in Beaconsfield for over 50 years, Sandy was Mayor of the town between 2013 and 2014 and is a board member on the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Association of Local Councils. He also spent 30 years in the Royal Naval Reserve, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

Sandy has also been awarded a Freeman of the City of London and in 2007 was installed as Master of the Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers.

Chief executive of Brain Tumour Research, Sue Farrington Smith MBE said: ‘We are delighted to hear that Sandy’s enormous contribution on so many levels has been recognised. All of us at Brain Tumour Research send our heartfelt congratulations to Sandy on this award which is hugely deserved.

Sandy lost Diana in 2002, a year after I lost my niece Alison Phelan, three weeks before her eighth birthday. There are no words to describe how the loss of a child shatters a family. Sandy and I still remember our complete shock and disbelief when we discovered that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research was being allocated to this devastating disease. We found this unacceptable.

We will always be grateful to Sandy and the Diana Ford Trust for having the foresight to change their name to Brain Tumour Research, step down and enable representatives of charities that had come together under the Umbrella of the United Brain Tumour Campaign to become trustees, including myself a trustee of Ali’s Dream, Wendy Fulcher co-founder of BTRC (Brain Tumour Research Campaign) and Nigel Boutwood founder of Charlie’s Challenge.

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.

The charity is calling for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater re-purposing of drugs.

The charity is urging people to get involved by signing its petition calling for greater investment in research to help find a cure, further details can be found at www.braintumourresearch.org/campaigning/brain-tumour-research-petition.

*Source of article : Press release from Brain Tumour Research.

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