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Helen Taylor Thompson Biography

Co-Founder & President (7 August 1924 – 6 September 2020)

Helen was elected to the board of the Mildmay Mission Hospital in 1952 and afterwards sat on a number of Government NHS committee. She later fought the closure of the Mildmay hospital and became its chair when it reopened as the first hospice in Europe for people living with AIDS in 1988.  

In 1995 Helen, alongside with CAN co-founders Adele Blakebrough and Lord Andrew Mawson, organised the Great Banquet - which saw 33,000 people in London sit down with people from every background to a meal. This event saw the beginnings of CAN, the launch of a network of social entrepreneurs who shared a commitment to tackle social problems through business.

In 2000, "Education Saves Lives", originally known as "Thare Machi Education", began and Helen was chair of the organisation up until later in life. Education Saves Lives uses interactive DVDs in local languages to educate children and young people against serious illnesses. The charity was officially launched in 2003 at 10 Downing Street with the support of Patron Cherie Blair.

In 1990 Helen was awarded the MBE and in 2005, was awarded an OBE in recognition of her wide-ranging charity work. The BBC included her in their “100 women” list of inspiring and influential women from around the world in 2018 and in 2019 she was awarded MD (Hon) OBE from the University of Buckingham for her Charitable work particularly in the field of medicine.

Unfortunately, Helen passed away on Sunday September 6th, shortly after her 96th birthday.