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The Brain Tumour Charity founders awarded New Year Honours 

Neil and Angela Dickson have been awarded OBEs in recognition of their dedication to establishing the world’s largest brain tumour charity

Neil & Angela (far left, far right) smash The Samantha Dickson Fund's £150k mark earlier this year

Neil and Angela’s daughter Samantha, was studying at St Nicholas’ school in Fleet, Hampshire, when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour and tragically died in 1996 aged just 16.  

Prompted by the then woeful lack of UK support, information, and research into brain tumours, Neil and Angela set up the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust which later became The Brain Tumour Charity

Neil said: “Angela and I are delighted to receive OBEs in the News Year honours. We have worked tirelessly over the last 26 years to increase research and provide support services for patients and families diagnosed with this devastating disease. 

“These awards are also a big thank you to the brain tumour community in the UK which has united to make such a difference.  

“We still have a mountain to climb but major progress has been made since the dark days of 1996. Samantha would have been so proud that her legacy has benefited others.” 

The creation of The Brain Tumour Charity

The Charity, now based in Fleet, Hampshire, is the largest dedicated funder of research into brain tumours globally. 

Formed following the merger of Brain Tumour UK, the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust and the Joseph Foote Trust, its work is inspired by Samantha and Joseph, who sadly lost their lives to brain tumours, and to every person who has been affected. 

The Dicksons also set up The Samantha Dickson Fund within The Brain Tumour Charity in 2021, to continue Samantha’s legacy and to raise money specifically for research into high grade gliomas – the most aggressive brain tumour type. 

Samantha had first been diagnosed whilst a pupil at St Nicholas’ school in Fleet, Hampshire.

The school had been very supportive of her during her illness and had been an active fundraiser for The Brain Tumour Charity since its inception.

(Neil & Angela leading the 2023 Twilight Walk in memory of Samantha, with pupils from St Nicholas’ school Fleet)

Neil said: “Angela and I are immensely proud that her legacy has generated more than £100m since The Charity started. This had made The Brain Tumour Charity one of the largest funders of high-quality brain tumour research in the world. This research had led to a number of scientific breakthroughs some leading to new clinical treatments.” 

Despite the success, Neil went on to say: “More children and adults under 40 still die from a brain tumour than any other cancer. That is why our continued fundraising is so important.” 

Samantha’s legacy

Dr Michele Afif, CEO of The Brain Tumour Charity, said: “Driven by the unimaginable impact of a brain tumour diagnosis on their bright, lively, happy, fun-loving daughter Samantha, for the last 25 years Neil and Angela Dickson have worked ceaselessly to prevent the same tragedy affecting others. In so doing, they have become experts in research, fundraising, and collaboration across the sector to transform The Brain Tumour Charity into the largest dedicated charitable funder of research into brain tumours globally.  

“Funding research to find a cure remains at the very heart of Neil and Angela’s voluntary work. They have personally raised over £230,000 for The Samantha Dickson Fund – a supporter group within the Charity, and Neil is also Vice Chair of Trustees and a member of the Research and Finance Committees. 

“Their contribution, their determination to bring hope to everyone affected through fundamentally changing the brain tumour landscape, is testament to their courage and selfless compassion and the reason they continue to be an inspiration to us all.” 

Read more: The Samantha Dickson Fund