Mimi McCord

Chairman, Trustee & Director

Mimi is the founder trustee of the McCord Oesophageal Cancer Fund which is now known as Heartburn Cancer UK (HCUK).  She set-up the charity in memory of her husband Michael, who died from oesophageal cancer in 2002, a death that could have been prevented had he known of the dangers of long-term persistent heartburn.  HCUK raises awareness and educates the general public and medical profession of the link, and risk factors between heartburn, Barrett’s oesophagus and oesophageal cancer, to try to reduce the increasing number of deaths from this cancer through prevention and early diagnosis.

Over the last ten years Mimi has been a lay member on NICE and British Society of Gastroenterology guideline committees focusing on Barrett’s oesophagus and oesophageal cancer, and has advised the Department of Health on their public awareness campaign on oesophago-gastric cancer.

Mimi is also involved in a number of trials to improve diagnosis treatment and management of Barrett’s oesophagus and oesophageal cancer, from design through to publication of research results. Currently she is Patient Advocate for a major research project funded by CRUK as part of their Grand Challenge venture.  The project, called Mutographs of Cancer, is led by Professor Sir Mike Stratton and seeks to fill in the missing gaps to identify the unknown cancer-causing factors and reveal how they lead to cancer.

Mimi is the mother of two grown-up children and the grandmother of four.  She's a very hands on grandmother, and frequently juggles two or three grandchildren during the week with school runs or no school at all, plus her computer when something charity related needs an immediate response.  She's a very keen runner and frequently to be seen running around Bosham where she now lives.  She's also in the gym three times a week to remain fit and reasonably de-stressed thanks to so much exercise, including dog walking.

Professor Tim Underwood

Tim Underwood headshot

Clinical Trustee & Vice-Chair

Tim is a surgeon scientist with a special interest in oesophageal cancer.  With a team of specialists, he performs surgery for cancer of the oesophagus and stomach on a weekly basis.  Tim believes passionately that through improvements in diagnosis and treatment, founded on basic scientific research, the survival rates for oesophageal cancer can be greatly improved.  His research focuses on understanding the ecosystem of cancer and how non-cancer cells interact with cancer cells in the tumour micro-environment.  Using this data, trials of new treatments can be designed.

Tim was appointed as the Surgical Speciality Lead in oesophageal cancer by the Royal College of Surgeons in 2018 part funded by HCUK and AUGIS.  Tim will act as a key link between the designated Surgical Trial Centres and national clinical research networks within their disciplines.  

He is married with two children, and has been passionate about sport in all its forms since childhood.  Tim is often to be found up a mountain, skiing in the winter or cycling in the summer.

Beryl Huntingdon

Trustee & Vice-Chair

Beryl Huntingdon Headshot 2020

Having suffered with persistent heartburn Beryl Huntingdon, a successful businesswoman, knows exactly the importance of being alert to the symptoms, which could ultimately lead to oesophageal cancer.

Beryl had a laparoscopic fundoplication in 2001 and for her the surgery was a welcome, positive, life-changing experience.  She was delighted to be approached by Mimi McCord to become a Trustee of HCUK.  Since becoming a Trustee one of her main aims is to raise public awareness and understanding of this potential condition.

Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald

Clinical Trustee & Director

Rebecca is a Professor of Cancer Prevention at the University of Cambridge and a Research Professor for the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR).  She trained in clinical Gastroenterology and started doing research into cancer of the oesophagus in 1995.   Over the years she has looked after many patients, some diagnosed with Barrett’s oesophagus and some with cancer of the oesophagus.  More recently she has had the privilege of seeing how patients with oesophageal cancer can be cured through simple endoscopic treatments when their disease is diagnosed early.

Rebecca runs a research programme to improve the early detection of cancer of the oesophagus at the MRC Cancer Unit in Cambridge.  She thinks that it is vital that we improve awareness amongst the general public and doctors about heartburn and the link with Barrett’s oesophagus and cancer, which is why she's keen to be involved with this charity.

People sometimes think that working in the area might be depressing but it is very fulfilling to be able to work on something so important and her husband and four young sons ensure she keeps perspective on life!

Tim Thornton-Jones

Tim Thornton-Jones headshot

Trustee & Director

As a close friend of Michael McCord, and his solicitor, he was one of the first Trustees of the McCord Oesopageal Cancer Fund Fund and was involved in its initial registration as a charity in 2003.  He is committed to raising awareness of the link between heartburn, Barrett’s oesophagus and oesophageal cancer and to supporting sufferers.

Paul Carr

Trustee & Director

Paul is a highly experienced senior Commercial/Marketing/Business Director and motivating leader of high-performing and collaborative teams throughout his long career, spent mainly in the Food and Drink sector.  He has held key responsibility for such brands as Bass, Diamond White, Saxa, Sharwoods, Hovis and Cadburys drinking chocolates, as well as running successful and profitable businesses and business units from £50m to £250m turnover pa. Paul recently retired from mainstream corporate life at the comparatively young age of 55, and has the energy and desire to now focus his 30+ years of marketing experience towards the aim of developing and practically implementing initiatives which raise awareness around the importance of recognising the dangers of heartburn, and thus delivering its key objective of reducing mortality rates associated with oesophageal cancer.

Paul has two grown-up daughters, both of whom are following in his Food & Drink marketer footsteps.  He’s a keen amateur chef and truly appreciates fantastic food and drink – especially English ales and ciders (the latter he brews himself from his own apples).  He now lives in a 500-year-old thatched cottage in rural Hampshire with his wife Jeni (also a trustee of Heartburn Cancer UK), four fluffy moggies and a tank full of tropical fish.  When not engaged in working for the charity and its aims he can usually be found in the garden growing vegetables & flowers, turning wood in his workshop, walking the lanes with his camera or repairing the latest problem in the cottage.

Jeni Carr

Trustee & Director

Jeni has spent her career working in Finance as a Chartered Accountant, firstly in practice for such firms as Ernst & Young and RSM Tenon and more latterly as Finance Director working for a law firm in Reading, where she is currently.  She’s passionate about the numbers, and has enormous experience particularly in Charity Finance, having spent many years working with this side of the business whilst in practice.

In her spare time, she’s married to Paul (above) and shares the same daughters, cats and cottage in rural Hampshire.  She enjoys arts and crafts, particularly needlework and sewing, but is equally adept at painting and decorating on a small scale, pyro crafts and knitting.  Both Jeni and Paul enjoy travel and skiing and Jeni has recently discovered Yoga which she combines with “Spin” and swimming to keep trim.  She continues to work as a Lay Steward at St Georges Chapel in Windsor, another voluntary role which involves stewarding major events such as Royal Weddings and the annual Garter Ceremony and attends other services at the Chapel throughout the year.  Jeni’s involvement in the charity came about through Paul and their neighbour, Alistair Cheyne, who’s inspiration she took to help raise awareness of the dangers of heartburn, whilst ensuring there’s always the funding available to do so!