Journalist, broadcaster and campaigner, Jackie Ashley, has been appointed as the new chair of The National Brain Appeal. Embracing virtual technology, the whole interview process was completed using video conferencing. The charity raises vital funds for The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology in London. Jackie, who recently stood down as President of Lucy Cavendish College at Cambridge University, and whose career in journalism spans 40 years, takes over the role at a challenging time, with much of the charity’s normal fundraising activities affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

On accepting the appointment, Jackie Ashley said: “I am thrilled to be taking over as chair of The National Brain Appeal. At present, we are being reminded daily of the importance of science and research to our health and well-being. Long after the COVID-19 crisis has passed, British people will still be struggling with dementia, the after-effects of stroke, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological problems. Britain is, however, very lucky in having The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and its allied institutions which form a world leading centre for cutting edge research.”

Jackie continued: “During these unprecedented times the team at The National Brain Appeal has been working harder than ever.  We are quickly adapting to changing times and are excited by the new ways of working and fundraising that the lockdown has taught us. Despite the difficulties that all charities are facing right now, The National Brain Appeal is moving onwards and upwards with zest and determination, and I am delighted to be a part of it.”

Theresa Dauncey, Chief Executive of The National Brain Appeal, said: “These are challenging times for the charity sector, with major sporting and community fundraising events, such as the London Marathon, postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis. Despite this, we are excited that we are still able to move ahead to work towards delivering existing and new projects that benefit the 14 million people in the UK with neurological conditions.”

Theresa continued: “All of us at The National Brain Appeal have quickly adapted to new ways of working and are pressing ahead with plans. This included appointing our new chair, using virtual technology for the interview process. We have always been fortunate to have strong governance and we are confident that Jackie Ashley will lead us through the next stage in our ambitious plans.”

Dr Chris Turner, Divisional Clinical Director of The National Hospital and Trustee of The National Brain Appeal, said: “We are delighted to welcome Jackie Ashley to The National Brain Appeal. This is exciting news for all clinical and research staff at The National Hospital and the Institute of Neurology. We have big ambitions, both for research and to stay at the forefront of delivering the best care to our patients and we look forward to Jackie building on The National Brain Appeal’s achievements to date and helping to take the charity forward to the next stage.”

Jackie takes over from Peter Stone who held the post of chairman of The National Brain Appeal since 2015. The recruitment process was conducted by an appointment panel led by the charity’s treasurer, Diarmid Ogilvy, who said: “Jackie Ashley’s professional experience, intellect and strong empathy with the mission and values of The National Brain Appeal make her an exciting choice as our new chair. She shares our passion to drive the organisation further in its efforts to support and improve the lives of those impacted by neurological conditions.”

Peter Stone, outgoing Chairman of The National Brain Appeal said: “I would like to wish my successor Jackie Ashley well in her new role, and I know she will be well supported by staff and her co-Trustees. The cause of The National Brain Appeal is very close to my heart, and I wish the charity every success for the future. It will certainly continue to have my personal support.”