Westminster and Holyrood come together in support

4 min read

It has been quite a couple of weeks!

On Tuesday we took a significant step forward in our campaign to unlock research funds promised by the Government. At an event at Westminster to launch our new manifesto, Health Minister Andrew Stephenson (pictured below addressing our campaigners) announced he is bringing together key stakeholders in the brain tumour community to "do things differently" in order to see the allocation of the full £40 million promised in 2018.

This will see a roundtable meeting taking place in May bringing together "our collective brains" to ensure that barriers to funding research are unblocked. Echoing the name of our manifesto, the Minister said he was looking forward to working with Brain Tumour Research and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours (APPGBT) – for which we provide the secretariat – to “drive forward and deliver that step change in May".

Our CEO, Dan Knowles, said: “It’s great to have this commitment from the Minister and we look forward to working with him to ensure the promised Government funding is allocated to researchers and provides new hope for patients and their families. Other cancers in recent decades have seen increased research investment and associated improvements in survival. Now is the time for us to make the same investment in brain tumours and find a cure for this devastating disease."

Parliamentarians who supported our manifesto launch included Ministers Guy Opperman and Mims Davies; former Ministers Will Quince and George Freeman; Lord Polak, who had treatment for a brain tumour in 1988; Dame Siobhain McDonagh, who lost her sister Baroness Margaret McDonagh to the disease; former Shadow Health Minister Alex Norris; Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care, Daisy Cooper; and Derek Thomas, Chair of the APPGBT. Actor, director and producer, Craig Russell, spoke movingly about his own diagnosis, surgery and treatment, and the impact that has had on him and his young family over the last year. 

Here is the full list of Parliamentary attendees:


Guy Opperman (pictured)

Andrew Stephenson

Mims Davies (pictured)

Past Ministers

George Freeman (pictured below)

Will Quince






Derek Thomas

Greg Smith

Holly Mumby Croft

Peter Aldous

David Simmonds

Ben Everitt

Royston Smith

Dame Siobhain McDonagh

Stephen McPartland

Iain Stewart

Alex Norris

Daisy Cooper (pictured)

Rebecca Harris

Kirsten Oswald

James Wild

Nick Fletcher

Robin Millar

Robin Walker

Paul Howell

Launched during an election year when political parties are committing to key pledges, our manifesto calls on the Government to invest properly into brain tumour research and calls for six achievable commitments to: 

  • Provide a detailed response and update on plans to action recommendations of the APPGBT inquiry report Pathway to a Cure
  • Declare brain tumours a clinical priority
  • Establish annual research spend across adult and paediatric brain tumours of £35 million per year by 2028
  • Develop a roadmap for full national deployment of the £40 million research funds made available in 2018, in partnership with Brain Tumour Research
  • Implement a monitoring system for this spend, with decision-making authority, to be overseen by a new Brain Tumour Research Institute
  • Increase participation of adult and paediatric brain tumour patients in clinical trials

You can read the full manifesto online


On Sunday Hugh joined a service to remember and celebrate the life of Sam Bravo Hibberd. We thought it would be appropriate to remember Sam on Tuesday at the beginning of the event to remind all of those in attendance as to why Brain Tumour Research does what it does and that for us the patient and their family will always be at the centre of what we do. Pictured above is Hugh addressing Tuesday's meeting and pictured below is Hugh with Maurice, Sam's widow, and their children, wearing white and celebrating Sam's life.

Last week Brain Tumour Research held a milestone event at the Scottish Parliament.

At First Minister’s Questions, Beatrice Wishart MSP urged the First Minister, Humza Yousaf, and the Scottish Government to fund more research into brain tumours.

First Minister’s Questions was followed by a Brain Tumour Awareness Month and Wear A Hat Day photocall, which was attended by all the leaders of the main political parties in Scotland.

Brain Tumour Research spoke to the First Minister (pictured below with Beatrice Wishart MSP) who said: “For me, as First Minister of Scotland, it is absolutely vital we raise awareness of brain tumours because we know how many people can be impacted.”

We also discussed the urgent need for more research as this is the pathway to developing the new therapeutics that are so desperately needed.

The Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care Neil Gray and the Minister for Public Health and Women's Health Jenni Minto attended the Brain Tumour Awareness reception that followed the photocall. The discussions focused on making brain tumours a clinical and strategic priority, improving access to tissue and imaging, and developing the capacity of the Scottish clinical brain tumour research community.

The Health Minister agreed to a future meeting, to further discuss these matters.

Shadow Health Minister Paul Sweeney joined the event and said: “Improving the survival of brain tumours must be made a priority now.”

At the reception, around 60 Scottish supporters heard the personal stories of Ms Wishart and of our Patron Theo Burrell.

We also heard from Professor Steve Pollard from the University of Edinburgh and Dr Joanna Birch from the University of Glasgow who both spoke about the unique challenges of brain cancer.

Professor Pollard said: “The fundamental science has not progressed to novel therapies. We need more novel approaches and bespoke therapies.”

Dr Birch also focused on the future challenges. “We need to expand our discovery science programme to develop novel therapies for brain tumours. And importantly, we need to train the next generation of research leaders to provide continuity of excellence.”

Thomas said: “This was an important day for the brain tumour community in Scotland. Our message to Scottish politicians is simple. More research into brain tumours will result in better patient outcomes. We look forward to working with elected Scottish representatives to ensure this is made possible.”

That is it for this week.

Wishing you all a peaceful time until next week, good luck with your Wear A Hat Day planning and please do keep an eye on Wear A Hat Day social media platforms for all of our news.


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