5th May 2009Parliamentary Reception
In spite of some 10 hours on a coach from Plymouth with twenty four EarlyBirds our trustees, together with some parents and researchers, enjoyed a grand day out in London. It was a beautifully sunny, but freezing cold day. The youngsters, thankfully, were able to wear their new EarlyBird hoodies which had been specially made for the event - and very smart they looked. We were met in Westminster Hall by Plymouth MP Alison Seabeck, who kindly gave us the opportunity to pop into the Commons or the Lords for a few minutes. The youngsters then had a brief, but we hope interesting, talk from the Education Office about how Parliament works and what MPs and Peers actually do - in case they had been wondering!
The Reception itself in the Members Dining Room was jointly hosted by MPs Alison Seabeck and Linda Gilmour. In their introductory remarks they spoke very highly of the EarlyBird Study, pledging their continued support. The Director of the Bright Futures Trust, our major benefactor, made a brief but compelling speech, explaining why his family trust was backing the study. We hope he will inspire others to do the same!
One purpose of the event was to raise awareness among politicians of the work EarlyBird is doing and, ultimately, to inform Government health policies. Trustees and researchers had the chance to network with some of the guests before and after the Reception and the audience of MPs and Peers, journalists and scientists, were clearly interested in the latest findings presented by Study director Professor Wilkin.
A key aim of the Reception, of course, was to celebrate the achievements, so far, of the EarlyBird Study as it enters its 10th year and it was an opportunity to thank the youngsters and their families, publicly, for their commitment to the study. Our 24 representative EarlyBirds, at least one from each school, were great 'ambassadors', and three were given the opportunity to say a few words on stage at the start of Prof Wilkin's presentation, including one youngster who is sadly now diabetic herself.
Thanks to a lot of hard work behind the scenes before the event, including an embargoed press release, there was much national media coverage throughout the day. Prof Wilkin was spotted on the BBC 1 Breakfast programme and heard on the Today Programme and LV even gave a live Radio Cape Town interview!