About us and our people
The Bladder and Bowel Community is very close to my heart. Being an ostomate and living my life battling bowel disease and a chronic illness, I know the importance of the Bladder and Bowel Community all too well. My aim has always been to break the taboo of living life with a bowel or bladder dysfunction/diversion or condition, raise awareness, and help people to understand that we are not defined by our condition. We won’t let it stop us from achieving our goals and aspirations in life.
The Bladder and Bowel Foundation had been instrumental for years in helping and supporting thousands of people across the country, including myself. With a staggering 14 million people a year in the UK suffering from bladder and bowel conditions at any one time, our support network was crucial.
Unfortunately, early in 2016, the B&BF was at risk of completely disappearing. Given my own personal experience of receiving advice and support from the community, I realised that I could not let this ship sink. Therefore I went about sourcing investment and am now the proud co-founder of the Bowel and Bladder Community. It’s a new Beginning.
Meet our team
Dr Adrian Fawcett, BSc (Hons), MBA – Chairman
As the B&BC Chairman, Adrian has had an extensive and varied career in healthcare. This has included the position of Chief Executive of BMI Healthcare – the UK’s largest private hospital network through to 2011- and he is currently the Chairman of Healthcare Cost Recovery (HCR) – a business that supports the NHS in the recovery of its debts from third parties globally as the UK continues to try to balance the books on our tremendous NHS.
Adrian has previously served as a NonExecutive Director on the board of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) – which included Job Centre plus, the Health and Safety executive as well as Disabilities and Carers, government agencies. Adrian was fortunate enough to also receive an Honorary doctorate from the University of Birmingham, as well as enjoying many early years in academic study.
BMI Healthcare had over 70 hospitals with over 7,000 consultant surgeons– and it provided experience for hundreds of thousands of patients. From this, we grew to realise that it is often the simplest and the most common health issues that can be most emotionally challenging and disabling. The things that you don’t talk about, and that are not easily observed, like bladder and bowel complications, are often endured by ‘silent sufferers’. Breaking down the preconceptions and opening up the conversation are the areas we need to lend most support and pay most attention to.
Blake Beckford – Co-Founder and Community Director
Blake started his mission to raise awareness around bowel disease and life with an ileostomy back in 2014 when he shared with the nation his battle with Ulcerative Colitis and the stigma surrounding life with a “Bag”. Blake had a lifelong ambition to become a fitness model but feared his Ulcerative Colitis may prevent him from reaching his goals. Following his bowel surgery, he was determined to pursue this, despite being told this would not be possible with a “bag”.
Blake was dedicated to entering a national fitness and bodybuilding competition and, in 2014, he achieved his goal. He was one of the first people in the UK to compete with an ostomy, winning his category. Blake had laid the foundations for other ostomates to get involved with bodybuilding and fitness competitions, at the same time as removing the stigma of the “bag”.
News of Blake’s story travelled across the globe, featuring on the Today Show USA, This Morning UK, Men’s Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, The Telegraph, Huffington Post and Buzzfeed, as well as many other media outlets. Blake shared his story to help inspire others and prove you can still achieve your dreams even with chronic illness.
Sadly Blake’s 2015 would be very different in tone to 2014, but would equally be defined by strength and dexterity.
Blake was dealt a devastating blow when he was diagnosed with Arnold Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia – serious problems with the brain and spine that merited emergency surgery.
In March 2015 Blake underwent the surgery but his recovery did not go as hoped. He developed meningitis, hydrocephalus and had a negative reaction to the patch placed on his brain. This was when Blake was moved to the high dependency unit. Following additional life-saving surgery, and a 3-month stint in hospital, Blake was finally able to go back home. He attributes his miraculous recovery to the support he received from his friends and family, but also the network of friends he had made within the bowel and bladder community. Blake realised a strong support network was vital to anyone suffering from conditions such as his, and that by raising awareness, not only of the realities those battling them face, and of its prevalence amongst all age groups, he could start to help break down the stigma surrounding bladder and bowel conditions.
Blake is dedicated to continuing the fantastic and pivotal work of the Bladder and Bowel Community and hopes to create a community network where we can support one another, find advice, discuss products and share hints, tips and experiences on leading a healthy lifestyle.
Angela Turner – Community Support & Membership Manager
As the Mother of Blake Beckford and Community Support & Membership Manager for the B&BC, Angela is dedicated to supporting others with bladder & bowel conditions. Angela understands from a first-hand perspective how challenging it can be for people living with these conditions and how important it is to support them. Having a partner, child or relative going through a serious health complication can be incredibly difficult for the family and having a community network for family members, as well as patients, to be able to find support, source information and understand the condition is vital.
Ian Hancock – Operations Director
As the person responsible for keeping the B&BC operational and efficient, Ian’s experience in running a successful Digital Agency for the last 14 years comes in handy. Starting out as a Graphic Designer in 1990, Ian worked in several design agencies before joining Barclays Bank as a Graphic Designer. After spending four years helping create, develop and position the Global Brand, he moved into managing a large team as Brand and Design Manager. This experience equipped Ian with six years of experience in managing financial budgets, personnel and delivering large scale, high profile projects. Ian’s digital experience and expertise are key in creating and developing our support lead online community.