Willson leaves gap at Cancer Research Fund

The Imperial Cancer Research Fund’s (ICRF) head of PR is leaving to set up as a freelance consultant.

The Imperial Cancer Research Fund’s (ICRF) head of PR is leaving to

set up as a freelance consultant.

Margaret Willson, who has been with the ICRF for ten years, will

specialise in science and medical communications.

Her announcement follows a reorganisation by the ICRF in which the PR

department, previously a separate division directly responsible to the

director general, was brought under the fundraising and communications

department, headed by Peter Vicary-Smith.

Willson said she was opposed to the restructuring and told PR Week: ’The

primary function of public relations is to give an independent and

dispassionate PR view across the board and it was important that public

relations should not become - or be perceived within and outside the

organisation - to become part of any one single division of the


Although Willson said she did not believe that the new arrangements

would affect the day to day running of the PR department, it was

important to keep the department autonomous, in line with most medical

charity PR set ups. Its role was to support both the fundraising and the

science divisions.

However, Willson was keen to stress that her relations with senior

management remain amicable and that she may even be working for them in

her freelance capacity.

’The decision to leave was mine,’ she said. ’I felt it was time to move

on.’ Willson will leave by July, once a replacement has been found.

Vicary-Smith joined the ICRF in October, two months after the new

director general Dr Paul Nurse. He is currently looking for replacements

for Willson and the former head of marketing Alan Gosschalk, who has

moved to the Royal National Institute for the Deaf as director of

fundraising and marketing.

Vicary-Smith said: ’We see a very broad set of functions for the

communications role and will be developing its brief to become even


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