As we approach the Christmas period, it is always a time to reflect on the last year.  

Sadly, in January 2019, we received the most shocking news.  The world of medicine lost a truly brilliant man.  Once described by the Duke of Cambridge as an ‘inspiration’, Professor Martin Gore CBE passed away very suddenly. 

Martin was a true gentleman in every sense of the word.  Many years ago when I was trying to find help for Jon, Martin was one of the first people that I made contact with.  I still have his response.   Later in 2019, we had the privilege of attending his memorial service.  He is missed terribly.

We had a number of new Ambassadors and medical advisors join us this year.  These are people who support our work in various ways.  We are lucky to have them as part of our ever growing team. 

In February this year, Pauline Latham MP hosted a parliamentary debate on the issue of the banning of sunbeds in the UK.  During this debate, Chris Bryant MP referred to sunbeds as ‘pernicious death machines’.  We later discovered that Chris has also been diagnosed with melanoma himself.  We still have a long way to go in this area, but 2020 will see us continue with the petition for an outright ban.  

This year we have developed some fantastic new relationships with a number of partners, including, LifeJacket Sun Protection,, The Refashion Guide, Cooperative Funeral Services and Stores, Royds Withy King, Joshua Roberts, to name just a few.  We are truly grateful to all our partners.   Because of those partnerships, we have been able to provide support for a number of projects, including the Manchester University Melanoma Project and the Royal Marsden Peace Project.  

In addition, our work continues to go from strength to strength with one of our key partners, Vitaccess.  Our team is headed up by Di Cannon and we wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your support in 2019. The digital registry not only enabled researchers to understand more about how melanoma impacts patients daily lives, but it has also earned donations for Melanoma UK to fund a new automated mole mapping unit at an NHS Trust hospital. We now have 400 patients in the study and it is our aim to double this in 2020.

We continue to receive amazing support from the melanoma patient community, receiving regular donations, lottery subscriptions, legacy donations etc.  We never underestimate the kindness and generosity behind the donations we receive.

Finally, we said goodbye to a number of very special people this year, patients who had become not just patients to us, but very dear friends.  We miss them all very much indeed.  Our work will continue with them in our hearts and minds.

On behalf of our team and myself, I wish you a bright Christmas and a peaceful New Year. 

Best wishes

Gill Nuttall

P.S.  Our office will be closed during the Christmas break, but the freephone number will be operating throughout - 0808 171 2455