It’s been a whirlwind month here at Four Colman Getty with a series of headline stories hitting the media.
A truly significant initiative which we handled was the story of a father’s promise which has led to a life-changing medical breakthrough for spinal injuries. Our client is David Nicholls, who set up the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation (nsif) to research possible cures for paralysis after his son Dan broke his back by diving into a sandbar on Bondi beach.
David’s search for effective medical treatment for paralysis led him to pioneering neuroscientist Professor Geoffrey Raisman at the UCL Institute of Neurology. In partnership with Dr Pawel Tabakow, a leading surgeon at the Neurosurgery Department of Wrocław Medical University in Poland, Professor Raisman has put his innovative theory to the test – with staggering results for Bulgarian patient Darek who became paralysed two years ago.
The story behind the science has been told throughout UK broadcast and print media, including the front pages of The Times and Independent, and as far and wide as Israel, Brazil and Australia. The reaction across social media was incredible.
The story was the subject of BBC One Panorama on Tuesday 21 October. Tweets with mention of @supportnsif reached over 9 million and the hashtag for Panorama, #towalkagain, reached over 7 million. To donate visit www.nsif.org.uk or TEXT NSIF14 £5 to 70070.
The 2014 Man Booker Prize was another media sensation this month. Against a backdrop of speculation that the prize was going to be swamped by Americans, Tasmanian Richard Flanagan scooped the award with his sixth novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North. The book centres round the experiences of surgeon Dorrigo Evans in a Japanese POW camp on the now infamous Thailand-Burma railway. Flanagan’s father, who died the day he finished The Narrow Road to the Deep North, was a survivor of the Burma Death Railway.
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall attended the awards ceremony for the second year running and presented Richard with his trophy. It can’t be often that the Duchess is enveloped in a bear hug from a complete stranger but she certainly was that night…! She seemed nevertheless to have enjoyed her visit and was, as ever, a very welcome guest.
Four Colman Getty handled the 60th Women of the Year Lunch & Awards on 13 October at the InterContinental London Park Lane. For this year's celebration, more than 450 women from all walks of life were invited to attend the Women of the Year Lunch & Awards, each handpicked for their achievements and contribution to society.
Women of the Year has recognised, celebrated and inspired women of all backgrounds since 1955 and continues to shine a light on extraordinary women through an annual lunch, lecture and on-going foundation work. The 2014 Women of the Year Award winners were selected for their perseverance and courage in the face of some of the most serious issues facing women today including FGM, freedom of speech and social inequality.
Some of you will already have read that our much loved MD, Liz Sich, is to retire – luckily not entirely full time - from Four Colman Getty at the end of the year. Liz has worked with me since 1996 and in that time she has worked on a wide range of high profile campaigns, including World Book Day and Quick Reads, the opening of the Library of Birmingham and, most recently, Foyles 107 Charing Cross Road. She works closely with Jeffrey Archer and Val McDermid amongst others. She’s always said that she was going to retire when she reached 60, adding 'I have had the most wonderful time at Four Colman Getty but I’ve always been very certain that sixty is a good point at which to move on to the next phase of my life. I am looking forward to having more time and energy to spend with my ever-expanding family, on the three charities of which I am currently a trustee, and on travelling the world. I might even learn to cook.'
Liz has always been quite clear that she intended to move on when she was 60. She has charities to work with; grandchildren to raise; olives to pick in Italy. It goes without saying that I am personally very sad. Liz has been a wonderful friend and ally to me in our two decades together and she has been both enormous fun and a powerhouse to work with. She’ll be hugely missed – by me, by our clients and by the many people who have worked with her at Colman Getty and now Four Colman Getty over the years.
The silver lining is that Liz is going to continue her association with us on a consultancy basis. And that, because this has always been part of Liz’s game plan, we have planned for this and have a strong team in place going forward.
More next month!