Professor Malcolm Green, founder of the British Lung Foundation and champion in the fight against the UK's second biggest killer, respiratory disease, has been awarded a Knighthood in the New Years Honours list. At 64, Professor Green is renowned as much for his energetic approach to raising money for research into respiratory disease as his medical expertise.
Professor Green, 64, set up the British Lung Foundation 21 years ago with the aim of establishing a medical charity to give respiratory disease the same research support as goes to heart disease. At that time only 0.7% of the Medical Research Council's income was spent on respiratory research despite the high death rates in the UK from respiratory disease. Professor Green set out the overwhelming case for more research, citing the alarming proportion of the UK population - men, women and children of all ages - suffering from lung disorders and the huge social and economic burden it places on society.
Working from a basement office loaned by the Royal Brompton Hospital, Professor Green persuaded HRH Princess Margaret to launch the charity in the Chelsea Physic Garden. Subsequently he enlisted Diana, Princess of Wales, as Patron of the British Lung Foundation. The Princess of Wales was to become a committed supporter, attending fund raising events and visiting respiratory units around the country, hugely helping the charity raise its profile and expand its remit in the provision of information and support for people affected by lung disease.
His imaginative approach to fundraising included decorating his sailing boat with the British Lung Foundation red balloon logo and organising a myriad of other cycling, running and swimming events which he entered with gusto. On behalf of the BLF he worked towards smoking control and against air pollution. In the spirit of his enthusiasm for cleaner air he is a committed London bicyclist.
Today the British Lung Foundation raises money to fund a national helpline, website, publications on all aspects of lung disease, a network of Breathe Easy support groups across the UK, a support system for parents of children with breathing difficulties, and respiratory nurses in the NHS, and above all to support respiratory research into the causes and treatments of all lung disorders.
Professor Green said:
"I am deeply honoured to receive this award as it recognises the vital work of the British Lung Foundation on behalf of the millions of people in the UK - men, women and children of all ages - who are affected by respiratory disease. The charity and its supporters in the respiratory community have come a long way in the last twenty years but there is still so much to be done to tackle the huge social and economic burden of respiratory disease in the UK."
Dame Helena Shovelton, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation, said:
"Professor Green has single handedly made a tremendous impact in a disease area that is traditionally the 'poor cousin' of the medical world. The one in seven people in the UK who have respiratory disease need a great champion and we are proud of the fact that they have it in the form of the British Lung Foundation, thanks to Malcolm Green's energy, strength of character and commitment. For a man who has achieved so much he has remained a man of great humility. "
Professor Malcolm Green DM; FRCP, recently retired from his posts as Professor of Respiratory Medicine, Vice Principal of the Faculty of Medicine and Head of the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College. He was also a Consultant Respiratory Physician at the Royal Brompton Hospital.
Please note: Interviews and photographs of recipient with former British Lung Foundation Patron Diana, Princess of Wales, available on request
For press queries, please contact: Jill Morrell on 020 7688 5565/07971 093 503 or Jill.Morrell@blf-uk.org
Notes to editors:
1. The British Lung Foundation is the only UK charity working for everyone affected by lung disease. The charity focuses its resources on providing support for people affected by lung disease today; and works in a variety of ways (including funding world-class research) to bring about positive change, to improve treatment, care and support for people affected by lung disease in the future.
It provides information via the website www.lunguk.org and telephone helpline 08458 50 50 20.
2. One person in every seven in the UK is affected by lung disease - this equates to approximately 8 million people
3. Respiratory disease is the second biggest killer in the UK (117,456 deaths in 20042) after all non-respiratory cancers combined which only account for slightly more deaths (122,500 deaths in UK in 2004)
4. Respiratory disease now kills one in five people in the UK
6. The UK's death rate from respiratory disease is almost double the European average and the 6th highest in Europe
7. Respiratory disease is the most commonly reported long term illness in children and the third most commonly reported in adults. One in 7 boys and 1 in 8 girls aged 2 - 15 report having long term respiratory illness in England