Friday, 14 September 2012

A Great North Run for the David Cairns Foundation

On Sunday 16 September I’m running the Great North Run for the David Cairns Foundation. David, who died of Acute Pancreatitis in 2011, was MP for Inverclyde. He was a huge inspiration to me and many others.  
The David Cairns Foundation was set up to remember his life and work. The Trustees of the Foundation aim to support the causes that David supported in his parliamentary career in the hope that the hard work that David put in on behalf of his constituents, his causes and for the country is continued.

The Foundation is currently supporting three charitable causes that David was associated with. The Ardgowan Hospice in his Inverclyde Constituency was established in 1981 to enhance the lives of local people affected by cancer and other serious life limiting illnesses.

In David’s role as the Chair of the All Party Group on HIV /AIDS he met David Kato, a Ugandan man who was to be beaten to death for his sexuality. To highlight such cases the Foundation is supporting the work of SMUG (Sexual Minorities Uganda).

Finally, as a living memorial to David, the Foundation, in partnership with the Notre Dame High School, has established an annual David Cairns Public Speaking Prize. Each year the two winning pupils will be recorded on a special trophy and have the opportunity to visit the Palace of Westminster, tour the Commons and Lords and watch Prime Ministers Questions from the gallery.

You can support my run by making a donation to the Foundation here. If you do make a donation I’d like to take the opportunity to thank you personally so please do drop me an email to
Many thanks.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

London 2012: Our British summer of discovery

London 2012 was a summer of discovery. And like so many watching the Paralympics closing ceremony tonight I’ve been reflecting on what we learnt.
I haven’t got the last word and I don’t want it. This is a conversation that’s just started. So here’s my starter for ten, with a bit of help from Ade Adepitan who summed it up so beautifully in response to Clare Balding as the show came to a close.
·         We learnt to be a glass half full. Optimism makes all the difference.
·         We learnt to show our feelings. There’s nothing like a good cry.
·         We learnt to have a sense of humour. There’s nothing like a good laugh.
·         We learnt that equality isn’t a fringe issue. It’s a birthright.
·         We learnt that being proud of Britain is okay It’s about patriotism not nationalism.
·         We learnt that sport doesn’t discriminate. So we shouldn’t.
·         We learnt that the BBC and Channel 4 are both great. They're both British.
·         We learnt more about our place in the 21st century world. Not empire but inspire.
·         We learnt that sport gives us hope. And hope gives us belief.
·         And with belief anything is possible (thanks Ade)
And as Bonnie Greer reminded us recently, if we’ve learnt anything about the audacity of hope, surely it’s that we are the hope.
So let’s make sure London 2012 really does inspire a generation. Join the conversation. It starts now. I'm going to.