Fiona Bruce and Davina McCall guests at Downing Street Reception hosted by Samantha Cameron for children's charity | Action Medical Research

Fiona Bruce and Davina McCall guests at Downing Street Reception hosted by Samantha Cameron for children's charity

26 March 2014

Fiona Bruce, one of the country’s top journalists and presenters, attended a reception last night hosted by Samantha Cameron at 10 Downing Street to raise awareness about the children’s charity Action Medical Research.

The Reception was held at ‘number 10’ on the evening of Tuesday 25 March. Mrs Cameron delivered her welcoming address, followed by a speech from Fiona Bruce on the importance of medical research and the charity’s contributions to medical breakthroughs and impact on the lives of babies and children.

Among guests at the reception were Action Medical Research staff and Trustees and key supporters including, current national hero, Davina McCall. A group of doctors and professors also shared their vital charity-funded work, focusing on premature birth, seizures in babies, Down syndrome and rare disease XLP. [see full details below]

Despite enormous progress achieved in medicine, there are still hundreds of thousands of children affected by disease and disability in the UK today who need the hope that medical research provides. The charity is currently supporting work around stillbirth, epilepsy, meningitis, cerebral palsy and brain cancer, as well as some rare and distressing conditions that severely affect children.

Fiona Bruce has worked alongside Action Medical Research on many projects since 1999 and is a former Trustee and Appeal Patron. In 2006 she became a leading light in the charity’s Action Partners programme. Following her speech, she presented certificates of acknowledgement to Mike Phillips of Allen Ford and Cheryl Petar and Iain Willis of Quai Administrative Services, both Action Partners who have raised considerable funds for the charity.

Fiona says: “I’m proud to have been invited to the 10 Downing Street Reception for Action Medical Research. With the help of all their supporters they have played a significant role in many medical breakthroughs for over 60 years, starting with the development of the first UK polio vaccine. But there is still much work yet to do and their role is key.”

The charity was founded in 1952 by Duncan Guthrie. Early research funded by the charity helped to develop the first oral polio vaccine which eradicated new cases of the disease in the UK. Since then, the charity has spent over £100m, funding amazing breakthroughs including: discovering the importance of taking folic acid before and during pregnancy to prevent spina bifida, developing the use of ultrasound technology in pregnancy and testing the rubella vaccine.



A high-res picture of Samantha Cameron, Fiona Bruce and Davina McCall can be downloaded from the links below:

The researchers who attended the Action Medical Research reception at Downing Street are:

  1. Dr Hazel Evans, Department of Respiratory Paediatrics, University Hospital Southampton. Down syndrome and obstructive sleep apnoea: better screening to help early diagnosis and unnecessary suffering. Awarded Action Medical Research funding in July 2012.
  2. Dr Topun Austin, Neonatal Unit, The Rosie Hospital, Cambridge University. Seizures in babies: could a new imaging technique improve diagnosis? Awarded Action Medical Research funding in November 2011.
  3. Professor Bobby Gaspar, Molecular Immunology Unit, Institute of Child Health, London. X-linked lymphoproliferative disease: developing a cure for this rare disorder. Awarded Action Medical Research funding in August 2013.
  4. Professor Gordon Smith, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The Rosie Hospital, Cambridge University. Premature birth: could a natural antioxidant protect vulnerable babies? Awarded Action Medical Research funding in October 2011.

For more information on the Reception please contact:

Toby Tennant, Head of Relationship Fundraising
T 01403 327436

For further information on Action Medical Research please contact:

Toni Slater, Communications Manager
T: 01403 327478

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Action Medical Research is a UK-wide charity saving and changing children’s lives through medical research.

We want to make a difference in:

  • tackling premature birth and treating sick and vulnerable babies
  • helping children affected by disability, disabling conditions and infections
  • targeting rare diseases that together severely affect many forgotten children.

Just one breakthrough, however small, can mean the world.

Charity reg.nos 208701 and SC039284.

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