President and Patrons

About our President and Patrons

Remembering HRH Prince Philip

Prince Philip was born Prince of Greece and Denmark in Corfu in 1921. He renounced his foreign royal title when he became a naturalised British subject in 1947, the same year he married the Queen.

Since Princess Elizabeth became Queen in 1952, Prince Philip provided an immense amount of support to her in her duties. Through his work with a wide range of charities, the Duke of Edinburgh played a major national and international role in helping other people.

We were deeply saddened to learn of the death of His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, our Royal Patron on 9 April 2021. Prince Philip became Patron of the then Muscular Dystrophy Campaign in 1966 and was a much-valued supporter for over 50 years. Share your memories and celebrate the life of our Royal Patron HRH Prince Philip here.

President – Gabby Logan MBE

Born in Leeds to a sporting family, Gabby went on to represent Wales in rhythmic gymnastics at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland. She became a presenter for Sky Sports in 1996 before joining ITV and then the BBC. She is now the main host of athletics coverage for BBC Sport. In 2013, Gabby joined the presenting team for the annual BBC Sports Personality of the Year and remains one of the main hosts of the programme.

Gabby follows Sue Barker as President, a role Sue held from 2004-2018.

Honorary Life President – Sue Barker OBE

Originally from Devon, Sue Barker is a television presenter and former professional tennis player. During her tennis career she won the Women’s Singles title at the French Open and reached a career-high singles ranking of World No. 3.

After retiring from tennis in 1985, Sue became a sports commentator. She joined the BBC to anchor tennis coverage at Wimbledon in 1993. Since joining the BBC Sue has become one of its chief sport presenters. She fronts key sporting events including the Olympics and is also the presenter of the popular quiz show A Question of Sport.

Through a great friendship with Lord Richard Attenborough, Sue Barker decided to follow in his footsteps by becoming President of Muscular Dystrophy UK (then the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign) in 2004. Sue became an Honorary Life President in 2018 and remains an invaluable representative for the charity, meeting hundreds of supporters and supporting numerous charity events.

Honorary Life President – Professor Martin Bobrow CBE FRS FMed Sci

The Trustees were delighted when Professor Martin Bobrow accepted their invitation to become an Honorary Life President in 2013.

Professor Bobrow has made an outstanding contribution in the field of human genetics and has also been a longstanding supporter of Muscular Dystrophy UK. He served as Chair of the Board of Trustees (of the then Muscular Dystrophy Campaign) from 1995 to 2010.

In his distinguished career, he has held senior roles in higher education and clinical posts within the NHS. He was Professor of Medical Genetics at the University of Cambridge from 1995 to 2005. He also served as a Governor of the Wellcome Trust, a Council member of the Medical Research Council, and was a founding fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

He was a member of the Department of Health’s Gene Therapy Advisory Committee from 1989-1995 and Human Genetics Advisory Commission from 1996-1999.

Honorary Life President – J Alexander Patrick CBE DL

Alexander Patrick, CBE DL, an Honorary Life President of Muscular Dystrophy UK sadly passed away in 2020. Alexander made a huge, life-long contribution to the fight to beat muscular dystrophy and related muscle-wasting conditions. To read more about the impact he made please read this statement.

Honorary Life President - Baroness Celia Thomas MBE

Celia has had a long standing role not only with the charity, benefitting the MDUK community but for a longer period as a campaigner for disability rights.

Celia was made a Life Peer in 2006 and she has been a driving force behind the work of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Muscular Dystrophy, of which she is now a very active Vice Chair. She has also addressed issues such as welfare reform and disability rights in Parliament.

Celia is Chair of the MDUK Services Development Committee, where she brings together representatives from NHS England, NHS Commissioners, consultants and health and social care professionals, as well as people living with muscle-wasting conditions.

She joined the MDUK Board of Trustees in 2010, bringing her wealth of Politics/ Parliamentarian experience with her; asking numerous questions to Government Ministers over the years across subjects as diverse as; access to treatments for Translarna and Spinraza and Personal Independence Payments.

She has also been host to numerous events at the House of Lords for Vice Presidents luncheons and launches/ celebratory events including the 10th anniversary for Trailblazers and launch of the APPG for MD, access to psychological support for people with neuromuscular conditions, which produced the blueprint for the charity’s Mental Health Matters programme. At these events, Baroness Thomas enables the charity to draw together people from diverse social and business backgrounds to focus on a particular need.

Patron – Professor Alan E. H. Emery

Emeritus Professor Alan E. H. Emery is a specialist in medical genetics and developed an interest in muscle disease. Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy is named after Prof. Emery and American neurologist Fritz Dreifuss who first described the condition in the 1960s. Prof. Emery is also credited with being instrumental in setting up the European Neuromuscular Centre (ENMC), the hugely successful organisation which encourages collaboration amongst researchers worldwide.

Patron – Ian Corner

Ian Corner has been a prolific fundraiser and supporter of MDUK the mid-nineties. Ian formed a Manchester committee called Friends of Muscular Dystrophy (FMD) which held an annual sports dinner in the city raising up to £30,000. Ian was formerly the manager of the Thistle Hotel in Manchester which enabled him to develop a terrific network of friends and supporters including Sir Alex Ferguson who became a VP of the charity as a result. Over the years, Ian has contributed more than half a million pounds to MDUK and continues to support today.

Patron – Bill Ronald

Bill Ronald was Chairman of MDUK from September 2010 – September 2016. Bill’s involvement with the charity stems from having a young nephew with muscular dystrophy and his desire to make a difference. Bill has a sales and marketing background, having spent 23 years in a variety of roles at Mars, including Managing Director of the UK confectionery operation. Since leaving Mars, he has been Chief Executive Officer of Uniq and has held non-executive roles in Bezier, Halfords, Alfesca, Dialight and the Compleat Food Group. He is currently Chairman of Fox International and Non-Exec Chairman at Fever-Tree since 2013.

Patron – Sir Sydney Samuelson CBE 

Sir Sydney was appointed in 1991 by the government of the UK as the first British Film Commissioner, and stayed in the position for 6 years. He was chosen as the first chairman of the Management board of BAFTA in 1976 and is a permanent trustee. In 1985 he received the Michael Balcon Award and in 1993 a Fellowship of BAFTA, the Academy’s highest honour. He was the first President of the UK Jewish Film Festival. He remained in the role until 2005, and as of 2010 is currently the UKJFF Honorary Lifetime Patron. Sir Sydney’s relationship with the charity began as a result of his friendship with Lord Attenborough.

Patron – Keith Rushton 

Keith joined the charity (alongside his wife Joan) in 1974 when his son was diagnosed with DMD, his son passed away in 1986. Through his work in the electronics industry he was able to help researchers to develop equipment for Hammersmith and other muscle centres. He became a Trustee of the charity in 1976 and became Chair of the Management Committee in 1994, he has been Vice Chair since 2002. Keith has always been an active fundraiser, particularly via the Worthing Branch through his Charity Film Society and other ventures. Keith is a fellow of the Institute of Directors and has spent most of his working life in electronics and communications, spending 8 years in broadcast television, 12 years with British Airways and subsequently 9 years as Chairman or Chief Executive of over 15 companies in both Europe and USA