Our Inspiration

Our Inspiration

The Melanoma Fund (originally known as the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund) was founded in memory of Myfanwy by her husband Harry after she died from the disease in 1999.

Harry went on to dedicate his time to building the charity, until his death in 2020.

About Myfanwy

A dedicated wife and mother to three boys, Myfanwy was a nurse at the Horncastle House Nursing Home and at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.

She was the former chairman of East Grinstead Operatic Society, the conductor of the Forest Row Royal National Lifeboat Institution Choir and ‘mother’ of the legendary Felbridge Juniors Rugby Club.

Alongside her husband Harry, she organised the 80 miles South Downs Way Run and the ‘World Trail Running Championships’ and was known and loved by all who knew her, but none so much as her husband and three boys.

Melanoma

Myfanwy was diagnosed with melanoma about 14 years before her death. After initial treatment, she had been in remission for 12 years, however the disease sadly recurred and spread to her lymph nodes. As the condition worsened, she was sent to the Royal Marsden for a scan, identifying that melanoma had spread to her brain.

Never Forgotten

Harry and Myfanwy had been married for 37 years and lived for each other. She was only 60. The family were all determined that she should never be forgotten; and established the charity to help stop what happened to them, from happening to others.

About Harry

As part of his mission to fight melanoma, Harry embarked on some of the toughest physical challenges possible, including climbing Kilimanjaro, walking the Pilgrim Trail, and competing in the gruelling Marathon des Sables.

He tackled the Grand Canyon twice, crossing it rim to rim non-stop with the entire front row of Wingspan Rugby Club (he was their coach at the time) to raise funds.

Harry the wheelbarrow man

In 2004 Harry walked 800 miles in 68 days, from one end of the North Island of New Zealand to the other with a wheelbarrow named ‘George’, collecting donations along the way. Whilst in New Zealand Harry met up with Mark Habgood, and with an interested group of clinicians and businesspeople and used some of his donations to form the Melanoma Foundation of New Zealand (now Melanoma NZ) which still thrives today.

Harry dedicated his life to remembering his late wife. His work has been far reaching and impactful, creative, and pervasive, meeting like-minded people and organisations to raise over £700,000 in donations, helping fund research by some of the best facilities in Europe.

Author

Harry wrote two books; ‘The Slowest Pilgrim’ and ‘Harry the Wheelbarrow Man’ (published by Dreamtime Publications) detailing his adventures and his achievements with the charity. He remained modest and dedicated to the end, saying; “We need to create impact and that’s why I’m doing it. If I can prevent someone from and going through what my family did, my job is done.”

We salute you Harry and will never forget your legacy!

Make a Donation

Our work is focused on raising awareness of melanoma and other forms of skin cancer, all undertaken by a small, but focused team. Today is a tough environment for all charities, especially for smaller organisations like ourselves who depend on donations to survive. All support is greatly appreciated.


Skin Check Clinics

Skin Check Clinics

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Our Team

Our Team

We have a team of dedicated trustees and advisors who utilise their experience and strengths to ensure the charity fulfils its objectives, is fully compliant, focused, and impactful.

Michelle Baker

Chief Executive Officer

Michelle met Harry Townsend (founder of the Melanoma Fund) at a local fundraiser in 2013, where he convinced her that working for a charity would be a good idea. Of course, Harry was right, and after a few months, she jumped on board, bringing with her over 30 years’ experience in PR and marketing. She set to work building a new website, logo, branding, and a future strategy for national campaigning.

In 2014 Michelle created the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code, inspired by a sunburn received by her son whilst playing tennis. In 2016 she launched the Watch Your Back! campaign, and in 2019, the Slip! Slap! Swing! sun protection campaign for golf.

Michelle is responsible for the day to day running of the Melanoma Fund, building, and expanding the charity’s three prevention campaigns, organising and attending all the charity’s events, and keeping the trustees in order!

Her passion and drive has helped the charity thrive, developing multiple partnerships, key supporters, and strong links within the community; the type of impact more fitting a larger organisation.

Simon Quarendon

Trustee / Acting Chair

Simon has extensive knowledge of the public relations and marketing communications industry. In his 35-year career he has worked for a number of PR agencies, both large and small. He has also set up and sold three agencies before taking up his current role as Chief Operating Officer at Selbey Anderson.

Simon met Harry Townsend when he joined the Felbridge Juniors RFC team aged 13 and remained an active member of the club through to its demise including going on several tours. Simon replaced Harry at the helm of the charity in his role of acting chair in 2019, working closely with the CEO to ensure compliancy and diligence.

Married with four sons, Simon lives in Twickenham and maintains his avid interest in rugby as an honorary steward at the Rugby Football Union. He is also a member of the Twickenham Yacht Club and a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts.

Mark Dunham Habgood

Trustee

Mark is a management and advertising consultant, with over 30 years of hands-on experience, having owned companies in both New Zealand and Australia. He is a life coach, a business mentor and works with a number of New Zealand based charities. He has been involved with the Townsend family since 1971, and organised Harry Townsend’s legendary 800 km walk, pushing a wheelbarrow from Wellington (NZ) to Cape Reinga.

This effort helped raise awareness and funds for melanoma prevention and at the same time founded Melanoma NZ. After leaving the NZ charity in 2014, both himself and Harry received an honorary trustee awards in recognition of their massive input.

Mark, who has lived in NZ since 1975, now travels extensively spending six months of each year Europe where he keeps close tabs on the Melanoma Fund, attends the charity’s monthly meetings virtually or in person, and provides support and advice. Mark utilises his vast relevant experience and skills, to ensure the charity achieves its objectives, maximises opportunities and remains compliant.

Samuel Orkar

Trustee / Medical Advisor

Mr Samuel Orkar is a skin cancer expert, consultant plastic surgeon and member of the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Unit team at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.

Sam is on the GMC specialist register for plastic surgery and is a full member of The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons, BAPRAS and the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, BAAPS.

As an active Trustee, he supports the charity by providing expert advice on all medical issues, as a media spokesperson and importantly giving his time – when not busy in theatre – by attending the charity’s skin check clinics.

Charlie Whelpton

Trustee/Treasurer

Charlie is a self-confessed ‘businessman’ currently at the helm of several high-profile companies. He has worked in journalism, PR and marketing with a particular interest in technology.

He served as a co-director of a London based consultancy which was later sold to a major UK advertising agency. He holds a BSc and a MPhil in psychology, the latter from Sussex University.

Charlie has been linked with the Townsend family since his early days of playing rugby at Felbridge Juniors, and brings his extensive commercial acumen to the charity in his role as a trustee and treasurer as well as advisor on marketing and business matters.

Rob Williams

Trustee / Local Fundraising Manager

Rob is the Supply Chain Director at Fisher Clinical Services in Horsham, responsible for leading and developing a world class supply chain organisation, encompassing inventory/warehouse management, order processing, distribution, transportation management as well as returns and consolidation and destruction of clinical trial materials.

As an ex-Felbridge Juniors player, Rob was keen to give back some time to Harry, and agreed to join the board as a trustee, most recently taking on the role of local fundraising manager.

Not only does he have extensive and specific knowledge to bring to the table, but also a willingness to get involved with local events and to assisting the CEO in progressing the charity to achieve its full potential.

Kev Jefcoate

Trustee/ Sponsorship and Partnership Manager

Kev Jefcoate is an RAF veteran as well as an accomplished board director. He brings over 25 years of international sales & marketing experience to the charity, including in-depth knowledge in communication compliance.

An experienced press/keynote speaker and past president of the European Media Manufacturers Association, Kev is familiar working with blue chip companies, such as Mitsubishi Chemical and Hewlett-Packard, as well as a wide and diverse range of SME’s and latterly start-up organisations.

He is passionate about people, with a strong track record in managing, motivating, and developing cross functional teams to produce results. His on-going mission is centred around contribution, and through his relevant industry contacts and personal interests, is keen to develop potential partners and sponsorship opportunities, helping expand the charity’s campaign reach.

Kev is the author of STEAM, a book which explores the processes for marketing that he has been using for the past 20 years, with both blue chip and start-up organisations, leading to many successful campaigns and product launches.

Professor Brian Diffey

Scientific Ambassador

Brian Diffey is Emeritus Professor of Photobiology in Dermatological Sciences, Institute of Cellular Medicine at the University of Newcastle.

During his career in the NHS, he established an internationally respected research programme in skin photobiology, particularly in the measurement of personal sun exposure; its effects in normal and diseased human skin; and ways to minimise excessive exposure, especially using topical sunscreens.

He has advised several bodies on sun exposure and skin health including the World Health Organization, Department of Health, and the Cancer Research UK SunSmart programme.

He invented both the UVA Star Rating for sunscreens in conjunction with Boots in the UK, and the Critical Wavelength adopted by the Food & Drug Administration in the USA as the sole measure of broad-spectrum protection.

Always keen to provide his expert advice, Brian works with the charity to ensure that all published facts and advice is accurate and up to date, writing blogs and media articles to help spread the word on sun protection and the charity’s work.

Dr Elizabeth Blakeway-Manning

Dermatologist Advisor

Dr Elizabeth Blakeway-Manning (aka Lizzy) is a consultant dermatologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. She sub-specialises in the diagnosis and management of melanoma and is part of the regional melanoma multidisciplinary team. She also runs both general and paediatric dermatology clinics.

She undertook her medical degree at Cambridge University and Imperial College, London, thereafter completing postgraduate Foundation and Core Medical training within London. Subsequent to this, she undertook a Clinical and Research Fellowship in Dermatology based at Whipps Cross Hospital, London after which she completed Dermatology specialist training in her home county of Yorkshire. She is an author on numerous peer-reviewed articles and has presented at both national and international levels.

Lizzy is passionate about raising awareness regarding the importance of sun protection and is involved with the Melanoma Fund’s Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign, where she has acted as a spokesperson, endorsing the campaign’s key messages, aimed at educating golfers and greenkeepers. Having a love of sport herself, Lizzy places sun protection and skin cancer awareness in this arena, close to her heart.

Siva Kumar

Medical Advisor

Mr Siva Kumar Veeramani is a UK-trained consultant plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgeon appointed at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead and working in their Melanoma & Skin Cancer Unit.

Siva supports the Melanoma Fund by providing his expert advice and knowledge to their prevention campaigns, acts as a media spokesperson on medical issues and provides his time, when not busy, at the charity’s skin check clinics.