The Pride Of Bri­tain Awards

Fundraiser Ed­die O’Gorman re­veals how dou­ble tragedy led to a life­time of help­ing kids...

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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

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