Fitzgerald to boost motor neurone disease profile

The Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) has hired Bedfordshire County Council external comms manager Sarah Fitzgerald as head of PR and media.

Fitzgerald, who takes up the post on 13 December, plans to increase the charity’s use of high-profile public figures to bolster awareness about MND. She replaces Gayle Sweet, who left in October to join Knowsley Council as corporate comms manager, and reports to MNDA director of comms Richard Green.

‘I want to ensure motor neurone disease is kept at the forefront of the political agenda on issues such as stem-cell research,’ said Fitzgerald. ‘I also hope to put in place a strategy that will use celebrities to maintain the high profile of the association with the media.’

The move comes as it draws attention to its fundraising Christmas Ball through actors, aristocrats, politicians and TV personalities.

Judi Dench, the Duchess of York, Michael Portillo and Cat Deeley are among the celebrities who have created unique pictures of their thumbprints to be displayed and auctioned at the ball.

The thumbprint theme is based on the MNDA’s thumbs-up sign, which was the defiant gesture of actor David Niven who died from MND.

The ball takes place on 9 December.

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