It is with deep sadness that we share the news that our trustee, colleague and friend, Aisling Burnand CBE, passed away on Monday 19 September 2022.
Aisling was an experienced, inspiring and supportive member of the LifeArc Board and a lifelong supporter of health research. She joined LifeArc as a trustee in 2017, where her passion and expertise helped steer our strategic direction, values and governance.
Aisling was Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) until 2021. As CEO, she represented the interests of over 150 charities and the patients they serve. She was instrumental in creating a single voice for the many AMRC members, particularly during the COVID pandemic.
Our CEO Melanie Lee remembers Aisling with great fondness: “We will all miss Aisling more than words can ever express. She was not just our trustee but our good friend as well, and our thoughts are with her husband Will, her sons and her whole family during this sad time.”
Aisling began her career with Rhône-Poulenc in Paris, before becoming a director at the Rowland Company, a London-based public affairs consultancy.
She joined the UK BioIndustry Association as its first Director of Public Affairs in 1998, when the UK biotechnology industry was in its infancy, where she championed UK biosciences and helped the membership grow to more than three hundred UK biotech companies. She later joined Cancer Research UK in 2009 as Executive Director of Policy & Public Affairs, where she helped influence politicians and civil servants on issues that matter to cancer patients.
In 2021, Aisling was diagnosed with bowel cancer and stepped down from her full-time position at the AMRC, dedicating her time and experience to advocating for better patient outcomes from research. We were lucky that she continued to volunteer her valuable time and continue as a trustee at LifeArc.
Aisling was twice recognised for her services – with an MBE in 2007 for services to science and then most recently in 2022 with a CBE for services to the charitable sector.
In memory of Aisling, her family has asked for donations to Bowel Cancer UK