The Pride Of Britain Awards
Fundraiser Eddie O’Gorman reveals how double tragedy led to a lifetime of helping kids...
There’s never a dry eye in the house at The Pride of Britain Awards, the ceremony that recognises Britain’s unsung heroes, and this year’s event, once again hosted by Carol Vorderman, will be no different.
Turning personal grief into something that improves life for others takes an exceptional person. In November 1986, Eddie O’Gorman’s children, Paul and Jean, were diagnosed with cancer – Paul, 14, died nine weeks later, and nine months later Jean, 29, succumbed to her illness.
Eddie and his late wife, Marion, were inspired to raise money so other families might be spared similar pain. This week, at London’s Pride of
Britain ceremony, in partnership with
TSB, Eddie will receive a Lifetime Achievement award for charity work that started at his dining table…
‘Our story started in November 1986,’ says Eddie, 83. ‘Jean found a lump on her breast and was diagnosed. Then Paul was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and given a 60-per-cent chance of survival.
As a result of the charity’s work, children diagnosed with ALL today would be given a 90-per-cent chance of survival.
‘Paul died nine weeks later. He’d said to Marion before he died, “Make sure Dad helps other children with leukaemia”.’
In a time of unimaginable grief, successful businessman Eddie turned his skills to charity work.
Just days after Jean passed away, a chance meeting with Princess Diana at a fundraiser encouraged Eddie and Marion to found Children with Cancer UK. To date, the charity has raised over £230 million and funded research centres and respite homes across the UK.
‘Princess Diana suggested we start our own charity and wanted to help us,’ Eddie reveals. ‘I wasn’t interested in business any more. I wanted to raise money to help other children, and here we are today. We’ve had wonderful celebrity support from people such as Jeremy Beadle, Chris Tarrant, Frank Bruno, Brenda Blethyn and trustee Linda Robson. But the bottom line is the money is well spent. A child diagnosed today has a much better chance of survival.’
Inspired… Eddie and Marion
Acclaim… Pride of Britain host Carol Vorderman
Support… Eddie with Princess Diana
Paul and JeanO’Gorman