Our patrons and ambassadors Our Patrons We are very fortunate to have the support of The Rt Hon Dame Maria Miller, MP for Basingstoke as our Political Patron and Professor Laurence Lovat, Consultant Gastroenterologist at UCLH, as our Medical Patron. We are currently on the look out to fill the Celebrity Patron post; suggestions are welcome! The Rt Hon Dame Maria Miller MP DBE Maria was first elected to represent Basingstoke in 2005, after a 20-year career in advertising and marketing. Maria founded and Chaired the Women and Equalities scrutiny Select Committee (2015-2019), after serving in the Government as Minister for Disabled People (2010-2012), Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and Minister for Women and Equalities (2012-2014). In addition to her role as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Women in Parliament, Maria is Co-Chair of the APPG UN Women, Chair of Conservative Women in Parliament, and Vice-Chair of the APPG on Digital Regulation and Responsibility. Maria is also a Director OF Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and Chair of the BIMR Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP), Patron of HCUK and serves on the Board of Governors for the Westminster Foundation for Democracy. Maria campaigns on a range of issues relating to women’s equality, including for a 50:50 parliament, the elimination of violence against women and girls, and has been particularly interested in scrutinising the harms that the online world increasingly poses not only to women and girls, but also to the health of democracies. Maria has been appointed as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Canada in 2022. Maria was awarded Dame Commander of The Order of The British Empire (DBE) for her Parliamentary work and Public Service in HM The Queen’s Jubilee Birthday Honours List 2022. Professor Laurence Lovat Professor Lovat is a consultant gastroenterologist specialising in gastroesophageal reflux disease, Barrett’s oesophagus and upper gastrointestinal cancer. He was the lead clinician for Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer at UCLH from 2001-8. He was appointed as a Consultant Gastroenterologist at UCH and Senior Lecturer in Laser Medicine at the National Medical Laser Centre, UCL in 1999. He previously chaired the North London Cancer Network Upper Gastrointestinal Tumour Board. He is active in clinical translational research to prevent oesophageal cancer, with particular interests in photodynamic therapy and novel optical biopsy techniques. He is the chief investigator for the UK National HALO Patient Registry. As our Medical Patron Professor Lovat has supported us in many ways including independent media advice and peer review for our clinical trustees. He is also helpful to test ideas with and endorse our thinking if appropriate. Our Ambassadors We also have some wonderful ambassadors. Chrissy Gorham Chrissy's husband John was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in late 2015 and sadly lost his battle in May 2017. John stopped working full time in June 2015 after 44 years. His job meant he was desk bound and to counterbalance this sedentary lifestyle he had taken up running 35 years before. When he met Chrissy, ten years ago, he increased his mileage and ran 50 marathons between 2009 and 2016, virtually all of them with Chrissy running alongside him. Since his death, Chrissy has continued to run marathons and amazingly completed her 100th in May 2019 – with proceeds going to Heartburn Cancer UK. Never one to sit still for long, Chrissy's next challenge is to complete 10 marathons in 10 days! When Chrissy is not running, she is teaching yoga or volunteering her time to Macmillan. Chrissy is incredibly supportive to HCUK and is always willing to help us in any way she can whether it’s being interviewed for radio, sharing her story or raising funds. Matt Read Having worked in the Clinical Research area for in excess of 20 years Matt has seen progress and advances being made in the fields of gastroenterology and oesophageal cancer. Matt manages a small contract clinical research organisation (CRO) that conducts clinical trials across a range of cancers. His experience in research, patient engagement and access to Pharmaceutical industry leads are a great asset to the charity. Matt is married with 3 children and enjoys long distance cycling and badminton in his spare time. Belinda Johnston Belinda was elected as our first ambassador in grateful recognition of her outstanding contribution to the Charity. Belinda, a scientist by profession, was one of the original founders of the charity when it de-merged in 2010, originally under the name of HCAS and now HCUK. Belinda has given unstintingly of her time and effort, in the first instance to establish the charity by undertaking all secretarial duties, essential in getting the charity up and running and organised in a professional manner as well as supporting and giving sound advice as appropriate. She has a passion for creating awareness of the disease in the knowledge that early diagnosis considerably improves prognosis. In a quiet dignified manner Belinda has set an example of service that few can equal.