Touching Lives - July 2008

Committed support

She’s one of the UK’s best known faces thanks to her impeccable delivery of the BBC’s news bulletins, and a loving mother. But Fiona Bruce is also one of Action Medical Research’s most steadfast supporters.

When Fiona first began appearing on television, she was approached by many charities who recognised what an asset she would be to them.

Fiona first became involved with the Charity in 1999, and in 2001 she was appointed Trustee and Appeal Patron. But it was Action Medical Research that caught her eye.

Fiona says, “Action Medical Research stood out as a charity that did valuable work and where I could really contribute something.”

It’s difficult to see how someone balancing a demanding career and motherhood can find the time to take on extra work, but Fiona Bruce is someone who likes to make a difference to those who she considers to be working even harder.

“My life isn’t stressful at all compared to some of the people Action Medical Research is trying to help,” she says, “These people may be struggling with a debilitating illness, their own or their child’s, sometimes struggling to make ends meet too. I never forget how easy I have it.”

Her commitment to the Charity may also come from Fiona’s own experiences. She lists family as the most important thing in her life but daughter Mia did not make her entrance into the world without incident.

Fiona was about to go on-air to read the BBC’s 6pm news bulletin when, pregnant with Mia, she began bleeding. Fiona recalls her fear that she may have been about to go into premature labour.

Luckily doctors were able to monitor Mia’s heartbeat and after a worrying four hours, Fiona’s condition was stabilised and she was able to go home.

These days Fiona’s best times are spent playing with her two children. “Monopoly is a big favourite at the moment,” she says, “or a bit of cricket in the garden. I’m rubbish so they like me to bowl because I never get anyone out…” But the memory of what might have happened to her own child has clearly informed Fiona’s sense of caring for other people’s children and their families. It may also explain why she is so often on hand to help Action Medical Research.

Most recently, Fiona has been helping the Charity with its Action Partners programme, which builds professional relationships with individuals and companies who can provide the financial impetus the Charity needs to achieve breakthrough results in key areas of medical research.

Fiona hosted the launch of the scheme in 2006 and has since made regular appearances at our events.

Of her unswerving support for the Action Partners scheme, she says, “In my experience, it’s much more rewarding to be involved in a charity in more depth than just giving money. If you can become involved in the charity’s work and see where your money is going and follow the progress of a particular bit of research, it’s much more meaningful. ^Action Medical Research wants its partners to feel part of the Charity’s work and part of the process^ — hopefully it will be rewarding for both sides.”

It takes a well-rounded character to have the empathy and sense of priority that Fiona delivers to her work with Action Medical Research time after time. But if you were under the impression that Ms Bruce is always the composed, consummate professional who delivers the news into our homes most evenings, you may be relieved to hear that she does allow herself some time off for the less serious things in life. “I love watching Desperate Housewives or singing along to my iPod. Current favourite is Adele,” she says.

Find out more about Action Partners