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On Tuesday 16th May 2023, a committee of SMA UK’s Trustees hosted An Evening with Sir Richard Dearlove OBE at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in London to help raise vital funds and awareness of SMA.

A charity dinner with a difference, we were delighted to have welcomed over 180 guests to listen to the compelling views and experiences of Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6 who headed up Britain’s intelligence service from 1999 to 2004.

Sir Richard was interviewed by Matt Chorley, political journalist and broadcaster, and guests were given an insight into Sir Richard’s views on the some of the biggest issues facing the word today; from dealing with the pandemic to the war in Ukraine, to balancing relations with China and the EU. It really was a great evening of reflection and debate.

We also heard first-hand experiences from Portia Thorman, mother to six year old Ezra who has SMA Type 1 and is SMA UK’s Advocacy Lead, as well as Toby Mildon, SMA UK Trustee and entrepreneur who has SMA Type 2.

Many of the guests were familiar with the work of SMA UK and have been generous supporters of the Charity over the years, but we were also delighted to welcome some new faces to the room. We would like to thank everyone who gave so generously, both on the night and post event, raising a phenomenal £105,000. The money raised on the evening will help us to fund our vital one-to-one Outreach & Support Team, as well as contributing towards our Family Response Grant scheme and helping us to drive forward our campaign for Newborn Screening in the UK.

We would also like to give special thanks to the families and individuals who allowed us to share their stories in materials given to guests on the evening.