Patrons, Champions and Friends
We are very grateful for the support from our wonderful Patrons, Champions and Friends who generously give their time to support our campaigns and projects as we work together to break the cycle of poverty and disability for millions of people worldwide.
The Rt Hon The Baroness Brinton
After serving for many years as a Trustee of CBM UK, Baroness Sal Brinton became our Patron in 2011.
Sal has been President of the Liberal Democrats since 2014. She became a member of the House of Lords in 2011 after a career of more than two decades in the education sector. Until 2011, she was Director of the Association of the Universities in the East of England.
Sal is an active campaigner for the rights of people with disabilities and served on a Select Committee in the House of Lords looking at disability (2015-16). She has rheumatoid arthritis and uses a wheelchair most of the time.
An active member of St Luke's Church, Langley Way in Watford, Sal is Vice President of the Christians in Parliament group.
Our Champions generously give their time and skills to help us raise awareness and funds. They share our passion for building a fairer, more inclusive world and are committed to helping us bring about lasting change for people with disabilities in the world’s poorest places.
Trudie is an actor, best known for playing Sergeant June Ackland in the British television police drama The Bill and Georgia Sharma in ITV soap Emmerdale. She has also appeared in stage productions, Heartbeat, Casualty and Doctors.
Trudie has experienced hearing loss since childhood and is committed to tackling stigma and ensuring that people with disabilities around the world can fulfil their potential. She has supported the work of CBM since 2004, when she visited a CBM-supported eye hospital in Nigeria.
“It turned out to be one of the most extraordinary and moving experiences of my life. Seeing the way that CBM UK is working to improve the lives of people with disabilities in circumstances far, far more difficult than mine, regardless of faith, all over the developing world has meant I have remained a supporter over the years. CBM UK’s ongoing work and their exciting ideas for new projects, means that they will continue to empower people with disabilities and provide a future for them. I want to be involved in that future and I really hope you will too."
Anne Wafula-Strike MBE
Anne is a former Paralympic wheelchair racer who has competed for both Great Britain and Kenya. Anne grew up in Kenya where she contracted polio aged two, paralysing her from the chest down. Her family faced such hostility from neighbours, who feared that she been cursed, that they were forced to move away from their home village. Having faced prejudice and stigma herself, Anne is passionate about changing attitudes to disability and ensuring people with disabilities have the same opportunities as others.
After qualifying as a teacher in Kenya, Anne moved to the UK with her British husband. Her autobiography ‘In my Dreams I Dance’, was published in 2010. In 2014, Anne was awarded an MBE for her services to disability sport and charity. She is a non-executive Director of UK Athletics. Anne has been a CBM Champion since 2013.
“As a Christian, I believe we all have a responsibility to reach out to people who need our help, so I’m proud to be part of the CBM family. CBM provides practical support that enables people with disabilities to overcome the barriers they face and fulfil their potential. But crucially we also work to change attitudes.”
Victoria is a radio producer and disability champion. She has been tetraplegic - paralysed in all four limbs - since she was six years old. Victoria has written widely and engagingly about disability and social-care issues, including for the New Statesman and Ouch! – the BBC's website about life with disability.
Victoria has been a CBM Champion since 2013.
“I believe passionately that people who live in prosperous parts of the world have a responsibility to assist those who are not so lucky, and that is why I support the work of CBM, as it plays a vital role in helping those less fortunate. Every person with a disability throughout the world should be able to live independently, and have the chance to contribute fully to their community.”
These generous friends have supported our work in different ways, adding their voice to our campaigns, speaking out about little-known disabling conditions like fistula or challenging stigma around disability. Read more about how they’ve helped and their motivation below.
Dame Penelope Wilton, DBE
Penelope Wilton is one of Britain’s most loved and sought-after actors, whose career has spanned acclaimed performances on stage, screen and television. She is a household name for many TV and film roles including Downton Abbey, Ever Decreasing Circles, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and The BFG. Penelope has been a supporter of CBM since 2012 and in 2016, she presented our Radio 4 appeal to prevent childhood blindness in Tanzania.
“When I first came across CBM, I was shocked to learn that people in developing countries are going blind because of conditions like cataracts. Cataracts cause half of all blindness. They can be treated with straightforward surgery - and yet for thousands of men, women and children in Africa, this simple operation is out of reach. If you're living in poverty in a developing country, it must be truly terrifying to lose your sight. So several years on, I'm still as committed as ever to helping CBM train doctors, equip hospitals and fund operations, so we can build a world where no-one is needlessly blind.”
Diane Louise Jordon
Diane is a TV and radio presenter, best known for her work on Blue Peter, Songs of Praise and Radio 2’s The Sunday Hour. Diane is particularly passionate about our work to prevent childhood blindness. In 2014, she first teamed up with CBM UK for our Light up Lives Campaign and since then has added her voice to several sight-saving campaigns.
"I truly admire the passion of CBM UK, a charity that works tirelessly in some of the planet’s poorest communities to restore sight, mobility and independence to those living with disability. Simply put CBM UK demonstrates love in action for many of the most marginalised people in our world today."
The Rt Hon. The Lord Blunkett
The Rt Hon. The Lord Blunkett is a former Home Secretary who became the UK’s first blind Cabinet Minister in 1997.
One of the most prominent Labour politicians in recent years, Lord Blunkett represented the Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough constituency for 28 years (1987-2015) and served as Education and Employment Secretary, Home Secretary and Work and Pensions Secretary.
In November 2017, Lord Blunkett hosted a reception on behalf of CBM at the House of Lords. In a foreword to 21 Stories, a publication marking CBM UK’s 21st birthday, he wrote:
“Too many people with disabilities in developing countries are unable to fulfil their potential, held back by lack of access to education or healthcare, basic assistive devices like wheelchairs or hearing aids, and crucially by social attitudes that isolate women, men and children with disabilities and can rob them of self-belief. With a billion disabled people worldwide, it’s a devastating waste of opportunity, not just for individuals but for whole families, communities and societies. So as CBM UK marks its 21st anniversary, I urge you to support their important work creating opportunities for people with disabilities and encouraging other organisations to do the same.”
Joanna Lumley OBE
Actor, TV presenter, author and activist, Joanna Lumley is one of the most-loved and respected comic performers. Joanna has helped raise awareness of fistula, a disabling condition that affects women after traumatic childbirth. In 2016 she spoke out in support of our work to help women with the condition on International Day to End Obstetric Fistula:
“I was so horrified to hear that around 2 million women are suffering with Obstetric Fistula. Not only have they endured a traumatic labour, in many cases resulting in the tragic loss of their baby, they are left with life-changing damage to their bodies. To then be shunned by their communities, is beyond belief.”
The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH
Sir John Major served as Prime Minister from 1990-1997. He is currently Chair of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, a charitable foundation established in 2012 to mark and celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s sixty-year contribution to the Commonwealth. The Trust has supported the work of CBM and other members of the International Coalition of Trachoma Control to eliminate the blinding eye infection Trachoma across Commonwealth countries. Sir John has also spoken out in support of CBM’s work to tackle avoidable blindness:
"I fully support CBM UK’s work improving the lives of people with visual impairments in the poorest countries of the world. Those of us with sight are extremely fortunate, and anything we can do to eliminate avoidable blindness - and enrich the opportunities of those without that gift - is enormously worthwhile.”
Ben, who has cerebral palsy and a hearing impairment, won a silver medal in the 100m sprint at the Paralympic Games in Beijing 2008 and a bronze medal in the 200m at the 2012 London Paralympics. He set a world record for the T36 200m in 2007 and became the first athlete to break 25 seconds for this event. Ben became a CBM supporter in 2015.
“Everyone has the right to be the best they can be, but too many disabled people are denied basic opportunities, especially in poor parts of the world. In developing countries, 90% of children with disabilities don’t go to school and most have no hope of getting devices like hearing aids or a wheelchair.
That’s why I’m proud to support CBM UK and do what I can to help people with disabilities reach their full potential in the poorest places of the world.”