MESSAGES FROM OUR PATRONS
The Lady Birt CB
Eithne, born in Dungannon, Northern Ireland, is a leading business woman and has a keen interest in International Development. She has held senior posts in both public service and in the multi-national private sector. She was the founding Director General of the National Probation Service, moving on to the position of Managing Director of Fujitsu’s UK government business. She now has a varied business portfolio of non-executive positions .
Working on behalf of charities has been a consistent part of her busy life but becoming a Topsy Patron is especially important for her. “I feel moved by this small charity’s work in South Africa and I am committed to supporting it. I like the firm connection between what we do here in the UK and what happens directly on the ground in Mpumalanga. I’m especially keen to contribute to Topsy’s work for orphaned and vulnerable children –I really want to do my best to ensure that, in their early years, children overcome the obstacles of the effects of HIV/AIDS and poverty, and achieve the best they can for themselves and, hopefully in time, for their new families”.
Sir Geoffrey Bindman, QC
Geoffrey founded the law firm Bindmans in 1974 and throughout his long and distinguished legal career has specialised in
civil liberty and human rights issues.
In 1988 he was a member of a UK mission monitoring the constitutional referendum in Chile and in 1994 was a United Nations Observer at the first democratic elections in South Africa. He has represented Amnesty International and other bodies in human rights missions in countries, including the former Soviet Union, Germany, South Africa, Chile, Uganda, Namibia, Malaysia, Israel and the Occupied Territories, and Northern Ireland. He edited the report of the International Commission of Jurists' 1987 mission to South Africa (South Africa: Human Rights and the Rule of Law).
From 1966-1976 he was legal adviser to the Race Relations Board and thereafter until 1983 to the Commission for Racial Equality .
He has honorary doctorates from Kingston University and from De Montfort University. Geoffrey is chair of the Board of Trustees at the British Institute of Human Rights. He was knighted in January 2007 for services to human rights and in March 2011 appointed honorary Queen's Counsel.
"As someone keenly interested in developments in South Africa, I am proud to become a Patron of Topsy UK. This small charity, run mainly on a volunteer basis, focuses primarily on supporting a sister charity, the Topsy Foundation South Africa. What is inspiring about the work in the rural area in which the programmes take place is that it is not simply a medical response to the AIDS pandemic, but includes education-related initiatives, programmes that aim for positive change in lives and projects that help people to help themselves. Thirteen years of delivering a first class service in a poor rural area with little in the way of infrastructure is a success story that deserves support."
A key aim of this small charity is to support the child-focused, life enhancing work of a sister charity, Topsy Foundation SA, in an underdeveloped part of Mpumalanga, South Africa, where the incidence of HIV/AIDS is very high.
Toppsy SA has a 14 year track record of helping to improve lives and enable people to be more self- sufficient, working closely with people in the communities it serves. Topsy SA has an impressive range of projects - with an emphasis on orphan and vulnerable children. Programmes include healthcare, education provision, food security and skills training. Some 1000 children and adults are part of these programmes.
Please help me carry the flame of hope by supporting Topsy and the people it serves.
After retiring from the European Parliament in February 2000, Alan Donnelly became the Executive Chairman of his own Company, Sovereign Strategy, an international communications agency with offices in London, Newcastle, Brussels and Kuwait.
Sovereign has a long track record of supporting charities and is proud to currently help the Topsy Foundation. As well as offering advice and support, Sovereign donated its advertising space in the Labour Party's 2009 annual dinner brochure. The Dinner was attended by a host of Cabinet Ministers and the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown was the guest speaker.
Rob Burlison, Associate Director at Sovereign Strategy said "It is really important that we all do our bit. Sovereign has an excellent history of helping charities, and is pleased to support Topsy. Seeing firsthand the passion and commitment the foundation has to helping communities in Africa is truly inspiring."
Douglas Downie is an experienced Finance Director. Currently he is Commercial Director of Flash Forward Consulting, providing advice on customer service and recruitment services to the bus and train sectors in the UK and overseas. Douglas's interests cover classical music and the arts generally. He lives in London, visiting South Africa every year.
"Topsy in South Africa does outstanding work with thousands of children, women and men, many affected by HIV. This is essential work, delivered through multiple programmes, and the charity deserves as much support as it can get."