On Thursday 24 November, friends, family, and colleagues of Chris Martin came together in London to remember him and raise the much needed funds for sarcoma research. The annual event went on a three year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but was last week brought back for its fourth edition.
Chris Martin was principal private secretary to David Cameron, and died of sarcoma in November 2015. His widow, BBC journalist Zoe Conway, now does everything she can to raise awareness of the disease, and raise funds for national bone and soft tissue cancer charity, Sarcoma UK.
The quiz was fronted by host Ed Balls, and featured rounds by the Today programme’s Mishal Husain and Rob Bonnet; Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves MP; former prime ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron; the King’s Private Secretary, Sir Edward Young; and Baroness Liz Sugg.
Other guests in attendance included journalists Nick Robinson and Tim Shipman, and Head of the Civil Service, Sir Simon Case. Over £20,000 was raised through tickets, donations and by auction. The auction included a huge bottle of bubbly signed by the chiefs of the UK’s secret services.
All proceeds raised by the event will go towards the Chris Martin Fellowship, funding Sarcoma UK’s Genomics Programme with the aim of bringing about a step-change in sarcoma research.
‘We hope that research funded through the genomics research programme will identify the causes of sarcoma and lead to the development of a test, so patients can be screened or diagnosed earlier and even lead to more drugs to treat sarcoma, through repurposing existing drugs, or by providing the data to allow the development of new sarcoma drugs’ says Richard Davidson, Chief Executive of Sarcoma UK.
‘A number of people commented that it was the best quiz we’d hosted so far, and the funds and awareness raised for Sarcoma UK is incredible. We are very grateful to Zoe for organising such a fantastic event in memory of Chris’.