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 (Patron)
Baroness Sal Brinton was a Trustee of CBM UK from 2003 to 2014 and has been Patron since 2011.
She is a Liberal Democrat peer and has been President of the Liberal Democrats since 2014. She has a special interest in education, skills and learning, following 20 years working in the education sector. Before joining the Lords, she was the Director of the Association of the Universities in the East of England. Previously, she was on the board of the East of England Development Agency (1998-2004) and Chair of the Cambridgeshire Learning and Skills Council (1999-2005).
In 1997, she was recognised as East Anglian businesswoman of the year, and has an honorary PhD for her contribution to education, skills and learning by Anglia Ruskin University. Sal and her husband Tim and their family live in Watford and are active members of St Luke's Church, Langley Way.
Champions of CBM UK
Trudie is an actress best known for playing Sergeant June Ackland in the British television police drama The Bill from 1984 to 2007 and Georgia Sharma in ITV soap Emmerdale since 2011. Trudie has been supporting the work of CBM UK since 2005.
“Back in 2004 I was privileged enough to be asked to go to the ECWA eye hospital in Kano, Nigeria to make a short film about the work they were doing there. 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, who grew up in Kenya where she contracted polio aged two is a Paralympic wheelchair racer, who has competed for Great Britain & Northern Ireland and Kenya. In recent years Anne has concentrated on charity work, fundraising and motivational speaking. She was awarded an MBE in 2014 for her services to disability sport and charity. Anne is also a past winner of the BBC's 'My Story' competition and her autobiography ‘In my Dreams I Dance’ was published by HarperCollins in 2010. Anne was appointed as Champion of CBM UK in 2013.
“I am honoured to be working with CBM, which is a great organisation that works to equip and educate communities in developing countries on disability issues. CBM doesn’t just work with statistics; they know every person living with a disability is an individual."
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 was appointed as Champion of CBM UK in 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.”
Ben is a British Paralympic medal-winning T36 sprinter who 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 Champion for CBM in 2015.
“I had to overcome a lot of obstacles to get to be a Paralympic medallist. Injury nearly ended my career, but I was determined to carry on fighting and, with support from doctors, my team and family, I went on to win a bronze medal at London 2012.
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.”
Friends of CBM UK
Penelope Wilton is one of Britain’s most popular and sought-after actresses, whose career has spanned acclaimed performances on stage, screen and television. She is a household name for TV roles including Isobel Crawley in the ITV drama Downton Abbey from (2010-2015) and Ann Bryce in the hit comedy Ever Decreasing Circles (1984-1989). Film roles include Calendar Girls and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and in 2016 she plays the Queen in the new film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book, The BFG.
Penelope was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2004 New Year Honours and a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2016 Birthday Honours, both for services to drama.
A supporter of CBM since 2012, in 2016 Penelope presented our Radio 4 appeal to prevent childhood blindness in Tanzania. “When I first came across CBM in 2012, 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.”
Ade is a Paralympic medallist and TV presenter, from Nigeria, who has inspired many people around the world. His positive attitude, and determination, has enabled him to forge a successful sporting and media career.
In 2005 Ade was a member of the team that travelled to Singapore, and helped the UK win the London 2012 Paralympic and Olympic games. In the same year he was also awarded the MBE, for his contribution to disability sport in the Queens 2005 Birthday honours.
Ade teamed up with CBM UK in 2014 to launch the end the cycle campaign: "It’s shocking to think that one seventh of the world’s population have some form of disability and 80% of these live in the world’s poorest countries, like Nigeria. I’ve been able to turn my dreams of being a paralympian into reality; but for many who are trapped in the cycle of poverty and disability, even being able to earn a living to survive is a challenge. Unfortunately this is the reality for millions of people. That’s why the work that organisations like CBM do, to end the cycle of poverty and disability, is so vital.”
Diane Louise Jordon
TV and radio presenter Diane is well-known for her time on Blue Peter and currently can be heard every Sunday morning on BBC Radio 2's The Sunday Hour. She is also a regular face on Songs of Praise (one of the BBC’s longest running programmes).
"Christian Blind Mission is a huge inspiration to me. It works in more than 60 countries, including some of the world’s poorest communities, to restore sight, mobility and independence to people living with disability. It’s putting Christ’s love into action for the most marginalised people."
The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH
As former prime minister, Sir John Major is now chair of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust. He spoke up for the importance of tackling 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.”