Betty McBride to retire after 14 years leading communications for BHF

The British Heart Foundation's director of policy and communications, Betty McBride, is to retire from the charity next month.

Betty McBride: is leaving the British Heart Foundation on 16 May
Betty McBride: is leaving the British Heart Foundation on 16 May

The charity is to hire a director of engagement and a director of policy to replace McBride, who has headed its communications team since joining from Help the Aged in 2000.

She took responsibility for policy in 2003 and her successes include a ban on cigarette vending machines in 2010 and the BHF securing Scottish Government funding to local authorities for life-saving skills to be taught in schools.

"I haven’t quite gone yet … keep an eye out for the birth of our new Fight For Every Heartbeat campaign that launches this May," said McBride, whose last day will be 16 May.

The BHF is close to starting the hunt for the directors of engagement and policy. Until the roles are filled Nick Radmore, currently head of social marketing and brand, will be programme director marketing and communications, and Maura Gillespie will be interim programme director for policy and four nations.

McBride trained as a journalist and worked as a BBC documentary director before making the switch to communications, with her career including a stint at Voluntary Service Overseas.

She is also an external assessor for BBC Charity Appeals and is a trustee of CharityComms, the professional membership body for charity communicators.

During the past 14 years, the BHF has won hundreds of international and national awards including PRWeek, Creative Circle, CIPR, Third Sector Excellence, Media Week, National Business Awards and a Cannes Black Lion, among many others.

Memorable BHF campaigns include hands-only CPR with Vinnie Jones and the Angina Monologues, a comedy night with Victoria Wood and other female comedians.   

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