Touching Lives - March 2009
Former Chief Executive bids fond farewell
When I left the Royal Navy in 2000, I knew I needed a job that would enthuse me, that would be as worthwhile as the previous 36 years. When I saw the advert in The Times, and started to investigate the then Action Research, I very quickly realised that this was the right choice – an organisation that through the careful application of science of the highest quality was of very real benefit to the ill and people with disablities.
And so, once the Trustees decided that they could live with an Admiral, I accepted the post enthusiastically and never looked back. We have consolidated the way in which Action is run; we have made it a very efficient organisation; and, most important of all, we have made more money year by year so we can devote more to medical research. I say ‘we’ because no-one can do this on their own – this achievement has been the result of partnership and friendship between the Chief Executive, the staff, the trustees and the thousands of volunteers, supporters and donors who make the charity work so well.
Looking back over my time here, there have been many triumphs in our research that have been rightly celebrated, but there are many more that you may be less aware of. We have helped demonstrate the feasibility of stem cell therapy for babies with Hirschsprung’s disease (a condition causing potentially lifethreatening bowel obstruction); identified genes linked to a number of conditions including an inherited form of cleft lip and palate; demonstrated that a treatment regimen with botulinum toxin can be used safely in children with cerebral palsy, and provided new evidence that a virus called Coxsackie B4 may be a cause of Type 1 diabetes; as well as supporting a key clinical trial to help establish the balance between the risks and benefits of using steroids to treat premature babies who need help with breathing. All this work has taken medical science forward for the benefit of us all. And, as you know, there has been so much more!
My successor, Julie Buckler, will now be bringing in her own ideas to take Action Medical Research forward. She will implement the new focus on child health and there are already this Spring many signs of healthy growth.
Of course, given what has been happening in the world around us, ‘times is hard’ but our work and the need for it shines out like a lighthouse, if you will allow a final nautical simile.
The future looks good and I wish everybody in Action Medical Research the very best of good fortune. Thank you all for your heart-warming support over the last eight years”
Welcome Julie Buckler New Chief Executive Julie Buckler says: “I’m really excited to join a great charity that makes such a big difference. It’s clear that the commitment and enthusiasm of everyone involved in Action Medical Research is the reason for its many successes and I’m looking forward to working with you all to take forward the new focus on child health.” Julie’s background includes eye research charity Fight for Sight, the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the NHS.