Bereaved Scarborough mum applauded at Westminster as brain tumour charity marks decade of achievement

Heather Othick and her daughter Sophie at the Brain Tumour Research 10th anniversary reception at Speaker's House, House of Commons.
Heather Othick and her daughter Sophie at the Brain Tumour Research 10th anniversary reception at Speaker's House, House of Commons.

A bereaved mum from Scarborough who lost her daughter to a brain tumour at the age of 14 has been applauded for her commitment to help other families.

Heather Othick was among guests invited to a reception at Westminster to mark the 10th anniversary of the charity Brain Tumour Research and to celebrate a decade of collaboration and achievement.

Heather’s daughter Ellie Othick-Bowmaker was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in 2007, at the age of just 11.

She touched so many hearts when she recorded a number called Butterfly’s Wings with her songwriter uncle, which she devoted to Brain Tumour Research’s Founding Member Charity, Ali’s Dream.

It contributed more than £9,200 to research into childhood brain tumours.

Overall Ellie raised more than £25,000 in the three years before she passed away on Valentine’s Day 2010.

After losing her precious daughter, Heather set up Ellie’s Fund, which became a Member Charity of Brain Tumour Research. The charity is now supporting the work of Brain Tumour Research and Support Across Yorkshire.

Along with her younger daughter, Phoebe, 13, Heather attended the reception held recently at Speaker’s House, by permission of the Rt Hon John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons.

Mr Bercow is MP for Buckingham, the constituency where Brain Tumour Research was first launched, and also a patron of the charity.

Heather said: “We were delighted to be invited to this event to celebrate 10 years since the launch of Brain Tumour Research.

“It was a lovely occasion and great to meet up with so many people from the brain tumour community who have played a role in transforming research into brain tumours over the last decade or more.”

Brain Tumour Research Chief Executive Sue Farrington Smith MBE, who lost her niece Alison Phelan, to a brain tumour in June 2001, three weeks before her eighth birthday, said: “We have met so many astonishing, powerful, helpful, angry, devastated, yet determined people.

“Determined to join us in helping to fund the fight and find a cure for this devastating disease.

“We want to thank Heather and her family, each and every one of you, and also all of those we are yet to meet.”

There are now 24 brain tumour charities working together under the umbrella of Brain Tumour Research and, between them, income has grown from £1.5m in 2009 to £7m now funding research and support each year.

The occasion was also marked with the launch of Brain Tumour Research’s new manifesto Find a Cure which sets out its plans to grow capacity in research into brain tumours, build research infrastructure, accelerate treatment options for patients, and to further increase national investment in the field to £35m a year by 2025.