Focus: Policy and Politics - In the Lobby

Last November the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, was named patron of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.

He pledged his support to the lung cancer charity after losing a friend to the disease. "I recently lost a dear friend, respected journalist and former health editor of Vogue Deborah Hutton, to lung cancer and was moved to try to help," he says. "It will be a privilege to help the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation with its fantastic work."

The Lord Chancellor announced his intention to join the charity at a networking event held in Parliament. The event marked the first step in a new initiative by the charity called Parliament Friends, which aims to reach members of both Houses who have sympathy for the foundation's aims. "The foundation funds vital research into the early detection of the disease, but also supports patients via a network of groups and runs vital smoking cessation services," Lord Falconer explains.

In his new role, Lord Falconer intends to continue this networking drive.

"I will be helping to raise the profile of the charity to attract more funding and recommending my peers in both Houses to pledge their support," he says. "I would urge people to help the charity in whatever way they can, whether through corporate support or fundraising."

The Lord Chancellor has already agreed to host a dinner at his chambers in aid of the foundation. The charity hopes this will help it to gain support from the corporate world in particular.

Lord Falconer joins the foundation's list of 25 high-profile patrons, which includes Dame Judi Dench, football pundit Alan Hansen and Liberal Democrat leadership hopeful Simon Hughes.

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