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Anna’s Hope founder and former NHS Foundation Trust chairperson, from Barnack, near Stamford, takes key role at national Brain Tumour Research charity





The father of a girl who died from a brain tumour will lead efforts to improve funding into research as the new head of a national charity.

Rob and Carole Hughes, from Barnack, lost their daughter Anna, aged three, in 2006 and founded the Anna’s Hope charity in her name to fund rehabilitation for children with brain tumours.

The journey that the couple have been on has now seen Rob appointed as chairman of Brain Tumour Research - a major national charity which strives to improve funding into research to find a cure for all types of brain tumours.

Rob Hughes has served as a trustee with the national charity for around nine years
Rob Hughes has served as a trustee with the national charity for around nine years

He became involved with the charity after Anna’s Hope joined as one of its 25 member charities, and has served as a trustee for around nine years and also as vice-chairman.

“It’s an honour to do this,” he said.

“It’s a lovely charity. It has grown over several years after starting from small beginnings and is now funding four centres in England, so it’s making a difference.

Rob with new vice-chair Sue Farrington Smith (left) and outgoing long-serving chair Wendy Fulcher
Rob with new vice-chair Sue Farrington Smith (left) and outgoing long-serving chair Wendy Fulcher

“It helps Anna’s Hope collect money for rehabilitation but also helps us play our part in the bigger national challenge to try and find a cure for all brain tumours.

“I’m playing a bigger role in the charity now and I welcome the challenge.”

It is the latest senior health role Rob has taken on, after spending nine years as chairman of North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust until 2022.

Anna’s tragic death has inspired a charity which now helps hundreds of children in the east of England
Anna’s tragic death has inspired a charity which now helps hundreds of children in the east of England

“I never planned to be doing this and I never planned to be the chair of the North West Anglia NHS FT, but since Anna passed away in 2006 it’s the journey that Carole and I have been on,” said Rob.

“Doors have opened and I’ve walked through them. They’ve helped me do something positive and make a difference.

“It’s very enjoyable. You work with some great people and it’s very varied.”

Carole and Rob Hughes founded Anna’s Hope
Carole and Rob Hughes founded Anna’s Hope

An important part of Rob’s role will be to continue working with the government to raise awareness of brain tumours and encourage more investment in research.

The charity is looking to create more research centres nationally and attract more skilled specialists to work within them.

Rob said: “What I will be doing is making sure that the charity is run well, making sure we’ve got good talent in the organisation that can go out and grow the charity and champion the cause. It’s how I support that.”

Rob Hughes served three terms as chair of the NW Anglia NHS Foundation Trust. Photo: North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust
Rob Hughes served three terms as chair of the NW Anglia NHS Foundation Trust. Photo: North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust

He added: “It’s the worst-funded of all cancers in terms of money received yet it’s the biggest cancer killer of people under 40.

“It’s a very compelling story that so many people die from this yet there is little research, so its a really good cause to get behind.”



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